Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Karachi Among The Most Polluted Cities in The World

World Health Organization has revealed that most of the cities in the world are going above and overboard when it comes to air pollution levels.

But what should catch the eyes of Pakistanis and its managers is the inclusion of Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Karachi among the most polluted cities globally.

The cities currently occupy the 2nd, 4th and 14th most polluted places positions in the WHO ranking, respectively.

Its a truly alarming development that can prove to be disastrous for the citizens of these cities.

Details about WHO’s Global Air Pollution Rankings

Overall, air pollution has steadily risen by 8% since the last 5 years. WHO estimates that more than 3 million premature deaths are caused by air pollution alone, making it one of the biggest environmental risks to human health.

The latest data collected between 2011 and 2015 revealed that 98% of the cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in middle to low income countries do not meet WHO air quality standards.

There are 3000 cities in WHO’s air quality database, out of which Onitsha in Nigeria topped the list. It was recorded to have more than 30 times the number of PM10 particles than the recommended levels set by WHO. Peshawar was second, while Rawalpindi came in at 4th place.

air pollution

Nigeria and Saudia Arabia were also one of the top contenders for the most polluted cities in low and middle income countries with Kaduna and Aba in Nigeria, and Riyadh and Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia.

Highest levels of pollution in mega cities (with population exceeding 14 million) was recorded in Delhi and Cairo.

Its Not All Doom and Gloom

Despite the increase in air pollution, the report also mentioned that more than half of the cities in high income countries and about one-third of the cities in low and middle income countries managed to reduce air pollution by 5% in the last five years.

Director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, Dr. Maria Neira commented on the findings of the report:

“Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. At the same time, awareness is rising and more cities are monitoring their air quality. When air quality improves, global respiratory and cardiovascular-related illnesses decrease.”

A Warning for Us

The report is urging policy makers at international, national and city levels to promote waste management, cleaner transport options and more efficient energy production.

A country-wide policy of cleaner public transport services is sure to have a major impact on the level of air pollution in Pakistan. The federal and provincial governments should enact policies for the same while at the same time, offer incentives to partners and investors working for green industry initiatives.

Industrial waste production should also be decreased by placing limitations over waste production and similarly giving the industrialists incentives for efficient and timely recycling of waste.

Via World Economic Forum

A techie, Overwatch and Street Fighter enthusiast, and Sub Editor at ProPakistani.


  • Geekpk

    Naya Pakistan is in Peshawar.

    • Farhan

      yes Imran khan made Peshawar the most polluted in 3 years! That must be some kind of record!

      Pretty Idiotic for someone calling himself a geek!

      • Zaheer Abbasi

        Yes Peshawar has got changed .now khan which city should be changed?

      • Asli Liberall

        رپورٹ پوری پڑھ لے . پشاور کا ڈیٹا دو ہزار دس کا . اس وقت عمران خان کی حکومت نہیں تھی پشاور یا کے پی کے میں .

      • Asli Liberall

        Read the report. Peshawar parameters were measured in 2010.

        From Last three years, WHO repeating same cities on the base of old data.

    • Asli Liberall

      Read the report. Peshawar parameters were measured in 2010.

      From Last three years, WHO repeating same cities on the base of old data.

  • Jahangir

    So sad, 3 cities of Pakistan are in top 20 :(

  • ledzaeem

    I m wondering what would have happened if lahore stood at first, government bashing would have started, People r still very kind to imi, n think some sort of magic will happen if he is elected as the pm :D

    • Geek At Large

      The only difference being Lahore has been ruled by the government party for more than 15 years versus only 3 of IK in Peshawar. And he seems to be the only one trying to do something about it with billion tree project.

      “Imran Khan is wasting billions planting trees.” Pervez Rasheed. That’s the mindset you have in the government.

  • Salman Abbas

    Surprised to see Saudi Arabia’s cities here though.. since they don’t really produce anything/not industrial? What’s going on there? Because of oil refineries?

  • Askarian

    Must be true about Rawalpindi. Not sure whats happening here, every road is littered with garbage and the influx of people coming to the city is just making it worse. Its really started to smell 24/7 lol concerned bodies are sleeping over the accumulation garbage dumps.

  • Ishtiaq

    These are wrong figures. Karachi should be @ No. 1.

  • Shaykh ul Islam Tahir ul Qadri

    Yahoodi he nhi chahty muslim countries saaf suthray ho is lye yahoodiyo na ek forum bnaya hai or os main muslims countries k naam add kr diye hai.

    ps. Shatan aap ko like krnay sa rokay ga #AllahhoAkbar keh k like karain.

    • Furqan

      Lol. Exactly what our leaders would say about this.

  • shujaswati

    Assalamualikum

    The collected data is rather old and wrong mostly. How can I say that? I belong from Peshawar, we shifted to Islamabad 5 years ago but living in Riyadh, KSA for almost 2 years now. I visit different cities and places here in KSA, including Dammam.

    Regarding Rwp and Pesh, not taking anyone’s side, Rwp is sure a polluted city and so is Murree. But for Peshawar, I’ve never seen so much priority for cleaning in my life. Psh is quite different now from what it was used to be 4 years ago. A clean and developed city now, the city everyone underestimated about.

    For Dammam, its much cleaner then Jeddah. Dammam is much like Rwp but cleaner.

    Data Collection and survey should be updated, India, U.S have tons of cities that can be listed in top 10 but no wonder why its not there.

  • Muhammed Ovais Alam

    The graph is based on old and outdated data.
    Get a life people.