Air pollution is just one of the many problems the earth is facing right now. It has been a major environmental risk that affects millions of people leading to numbers of fatalities and several diseases like stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory illnesses like asthma. The air we breathe is essential to our body as it needs enough supply of oxygen to maintain the healthiness of the organs and the systems of the body.
Some countries already developed several policies to reduce air pollution. But there are still numerous industries and other factors that contribute to the severity of the case mostly in the developing countries. The most harmful pollutant called the PM 2.5 is a tiny particle commonly found in soot, smoke, and dust. This little pollutant causes chronic lung illnesses when it has penetrated the lungs.
The Particulate Matter (PM) is composed of sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust, and water. Usually, those with diameters less than 10 microns are already considered the most harmful health-damaging particles that can severely affect the lungs, according to the World Health Organization. However, other factors cause serious health problems from air pollution aside from PM which includes the Ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
Clean air has become minimal and in demand nowadays. As people get sick every day, lives are also at stake due to these pollutants hovering the air. Although we tend to focus on the most polluted cities and countries in the world, here is the list of the top ten cities with the cleanest air in the world. The list was based according to the data released by the WHO with the lowest ozone, chronic and acute PM in the air. So if ever you wish to breathe some clean air, visit these cities and discover why.
10. Tallinn, Estonia
Located on the northern coast of Estonia, Tallinn is the largest and capital city of the country. It has been ranked as a global city, and the city’s Old Town was acknowledged to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has also been listed as one of the world’s top ten digital cities. Most of the country’s land is covered by trees; Tallinn plays a vital role in the main supply of the city’s drinking water.
To help reduce the emission, the government recommended the people to use the public transport. As it was implemented in 2013, registered Tallinn citizens have free access to the public transportations within the city like the buses, trams and trolleybuses, and the rail services. Maintaining the clean air of the city is among the priorities of the officials as they promote more environment-friendly energy production and more modern and comfortable public transportation.
9. Zurich, Switzerland
The largest town in Switzerland, Zurich is the center of railways, roads, and air traffic with both the Zurich Airport and train station as the busiest and most important industries in Switzerland. In the 15 BC, the Romans called it Turicum until it permanently settled in the year 2000. German is also the official language, but the main dialect is the Alemannic Swiss German. Although the city’s population is comparatively small, it is among the leading and the world’s largest financial hubs. It homes numerous major financial and banking institutions. It is where most of the research and development centers are located.
Public Transport is accessible in the city which includes the S-Bahn (local trains), trams, buses, and the trolley buses. Boats and cable cars are also being used by most of the populations. Furthermore, the city encourages its people to ride a bike instead. That way, you are helping the environment as well as own fitness and health.
8. Stockholm, Sweden
The capital city of Sweden, Stockholm has an estimated population of 917,297 inhabitants. It is the cultural, economic, media and political hub of the country. It homes the top ranking universities in Europe like the Karolinska Institute and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The city ranked seventh in the digital security and tenth in the health security. However, it is the individual non-Asian country that made it in the top five of the personal safety category. Like many other European countries, Sweden also has an international healthcare.
The most expensive extensive public transport in the world is located in Stockholm that entails the Stockholm Metro, two urban rail systems, a suburban rail system, three light rail systems, the Stockholm commuter rail, a tramway, a huge number of bus lines, and the inner-city boat line. It promotes a cycling area as it enforced a bottleneck charge on cars.
7. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is the biggest and the capital city of Finland with approximately 604,380 current inhabitants. The city is also known as the “Daughter of the Baltic” which is located on 315 islands and the edge of a peninsula. With a rate of 96.4 over 100 on the infrastructures, the city boasts of some of the renowned functionalists’ buildings designed by architects. The city was listed among the best liveable cities in the world assuring the safety of everyone living in it with remarkable healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
With a ratio of 390 cars per 1000 residents, Helsinki has lesser population and construction density compared to other cities like Brussels, Stockholm, and Oslo. Although public transportation has been a major hot issue in the local politics of the city, Helsinki is the only city in the country to have trams or a metro system. Wide streets are constructed to reduce traffic jams, and the citizens are encouraged to use the public transits.
6. Ottawa, Canada
The capital of Canada, Ottawa is listed as the fourth largest city in the country with approximately 951,727 residents as of 2014. The city is responsible for all municipal services including fire, emergency medical services, police, parks, roads, sidewalks, public transit, drinking water, sanitary sewage and solid waste as a single-tier municipality.
The city is served by numerous airlines with two main airports, and inter-city rail service and inter-city bus services. From its public transit system to a Spring Cleaning the Capital program, Ottawa has imposed several policies to maintain the streets and air clean. About 60,000 volunteers join the cleaning drive to clean the parks and other public places within the city.
5. Calgary, Canada
While the population runs an estimate of 1.2million, Calgary is considered the biggest town in Alberta, Canada. The clean city situated in the Canadian West, Calgary equalizes the contemporary and the traditional pioneer glamor. Aside from the economic growth of the city, Calgary is acknowledged more for its oil and gas industry. Calgary is the transportation center of most of the western and central Canada.
Calgary is also a major cargo hub, and it is the country’s third busiest by both passenger and aircraft movements. It also plays a significant role as the freight hub. Although it is rich in oil and gas, WHO listed the city with one of the cleanest airs for its strict measures in urban planning and public transportation, reduction of traffic congestions, and segregations of waste materials through its three sanitary landfill sites. The sites are strictly for screening garbage and removing biodegradable and recyclable materials.
4. Great Falls, USA
The third largest city in the state, Great Falls is the capital city of the state of Montana. It consists of series of five falls that enables a hydroelectric dam that’s why it was called “the Electric City.” Its location is adjacent to the Rocky Mountain Front, and it is close to some waterfalls on the Missouri River.
Its location has stunningly attracted tourist who seeks for amusing hiking trails and nature refuges. As a part of the city’s goal to keep the air clean, the citizens successfully warded off the construction of a 250-megawatt coal-fired power plant. If the establishment were not fended off, it would have emitted 2.1 million tons of carbon emanations into the air every year. In lieu with that, the company has constructed a 120-megawatt natural gas-fired plant instead.
3. Honolulu, USA
The capital city of the state of Hawaii, Honolulu is also the most populated town in the state. It is a major center for tourism, international business, military defense, and the main gateway to the state and into the country. It is listed as the second safest city in the United States of America.
Although it was reported to be one of the towns in the country to have the worst traffic, Honolulu is ranked third as the cleanest town in the world. It was in 2010 when the city created an amendment of the public transit system which was voted over by the citizens. This is to ensure the planning, construction, operation, and expansion of the city’s future rail system. However, intelligent rail systems with steadfast bus lanes are imposed to help in the reduction of air pollutants.
2. Santa Fe, USA
Known as the oldest state capital city in the USA, Santa Fe is the capital and the fourth largest town in the state of New Mexico. It was founded in 1610 by Spanish colonials. A public transit system is provided with relations to the regional transportation. A commuter rail line also operates with two other roads.
Santa Fe notably marks a low count of both pm and ozone, in fact, it is among the 20 cities in the US to have consistently low levels of ozone. As a part of the city’s ordinance, it is strictly prohibited and limits the burning of woods in the open air. The city was also named as a UNESCO Creative City for its flourishing arts, crafts, and design community.
1. Whitehorse, Canada
Named after the White Horse Rapids, Whitehorse is the capital and biggest city of Yukon. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the city has the least air pollution on earth. Public transit systems are provided on a scheduled basis which limits the usage of cars in the city. According to the World Health Organization, the city is the top city with the cleanest air in the world.
Whitehorse observes the proper water and waste disposal as it goes through concrete and required processes. The largest city in northern Canada maintains its clean air with its low population density as well as its sterner policies that also help in disciplining the people. It is also a safe place to live with its hydroelectric energy-generating stations, health care facilities, police, fire, and emergency services.