Pollution is a big problem all around the world. Pollution can cause or exacerbate health problems such as allergies, asthma, diseases such as cancer or heart disease, and even death. Pollution is harmful to humans and animals, and it also can affect crops, which puts our food supply at risk.
In recent years, pollution has also been all over the news because of global warming. This is an increase in the earth's atmosphere caused by a high level of CFCs, carbon dioxide, and other forms of pollutants. Because of the potential effects of climate change, more nations are making an effort to reduce pollutants. Cardon dioxide – CO2- emissions are among the most significant problems and occur through oil, natural gas, and coal combustion. Some nations are cutting down on their CO2 emissions by using alternative energy forms such as solar and wind power.
However, there are still nations where pollution is a big issue. In 2018, the European Commission and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency released the EDGAR database, which tracks each country's fossil CO2 emissions. Based on this data, the highest emissions were from China. Next on this list was the United States, followed by the European Union countries.
The top 20 nations with the highest CO2 emissions are:
- United States
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- Italy/San Marino/Vatican City
On the other end of the spectrum, we have nations that have very low CO2 emissions. Coming out on top is Faroe Islands. Anguilla and Kiribati also have very low emissions. Other nations with a low level of CO2 emissions are:
- Faroe Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Cook Islands
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Solomon Islands
- British Virgin Islands
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Western Sahara
Air Quality Index
Another method of measuring pollution is a country's overall air quality, measured by its PM2.5 concentration. PM2.5 is an air pollutant that is a concern for people's health at high levels. These particles reduce visibility and make the air appear hazy. The Air Quality Index (AQI) measured significant air pollutants, such as PM2.5 and others, including ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Based on the AQI, the most polluted countries are:
Most Environmentally Friendly Countries
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) compares and analyzes environmental performance for 180 countries. Each country is ranked on performance indicators across ten categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. Indicators include air quality, PM2.5 exposure, ozone exposure, sanitation, and drinking water.
According to the EPI, the most environmentally friendly countries are;
- United Kingdom
The EPI helps countries understand how effective their current environmental policies are and the areas they need improvement on. Eco-friendly practices and policies are found in goods and services, laws, transportation, and guidelines across all industries. Implementing eco-friendly products, practices, and processes help preserve the natural environment, conserve natural resources like water and energy, and prevent air, water, and land pollution.