As the human race grows we are responsible for more and more waste being put into our environment. Of this waste much of it has a very negative effect on the quality of air in our environment. From the volume of cars cruising the streets to the thousands of factories pumping out exhaust to meet the needs of the human race, we are constantly deteriorating the quality of the air we breath.

The following InfoGraphic will give you a little more insight into the world's most polluted cities as well as the causes and effects of the problems we are causing for environment.

Air Quality - Causes of Air Pollution

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Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index (AQI) (also known as the Air Pollution Index (API) or Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) is a number used by government agencies to characterize the quality of the air at a given location. As the AQI increases, an increasingly large percentage of the population is likely to experience increasingly severe adverse health effects.

Top 10 World Cities with Poor Air Quality

  1. Linfen, China.
  2. Norilsk, Russia.
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  4. Mexico City, Mexico.
  5. Windsor, Canada.
  6. Milan, Italy.
  7. La Oroya, Peru
  8. Pernik, Bulgaria.
  9. Cairo, Egypt.
  10. New Delhi, India.

Most polluted US cities
(By short-term particle pollution)
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Fresno, California
3. Bakersfield, California
4. Los Angeles, California.
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Salt Lake City, Utah
7. Sacramento, California
8. Logan, Utah
9. Chicago, Illinois
9. Detroit, Michigan

Most polluted US cities
(By ozone pollution)
1. Los Angeles, California
2. Bakersfield, California
3. Visalia, California
4. Fresno, California
5. Houston, Texas
6. Sacramento, California.
7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
8. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Phoenix, Arizona
10. El Centro, California

Most polluted US cities
(By year-round particle pollution)
1. Bakersfield, California
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Visalia, California
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Hanford, California
7. Fresno, California
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
9. Detroit, Michigan
10. Cleveland, Ohio

Sixteen cities making this year's 25 most ozone-polluted list experienced worsened ozone (smog) problems than last year. Some 58 per cent of people in the United States live in counties with recorded unhealthy levels of ozone air pollution, measured against the tighter standard in effect since March 2008. The new standard showed that unhealthy ozone levels are more widespread and more severe than previously recognized. The report's review of the past 10 years identified consistent improvements in ozone in some cities, most notably in Los Angeles, which has long been recognized for its serious ozone problem. By contrast, two cities, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas, have higher ozone levels than 10 years ago.

Quick Facts about Air Pollution

New Delhi, India
The main cause of New Delhi's air pollution is car exhaust and dust kicked up from overcrowded roads. As a result, construction workers and taxi drivers are most at risk for debilitating illness or even early death.

Adding it all up, the World Bank concludes that pollution is costing China an annual 8-12% of its $1.4 trillion GDP in direct damage, such as the impact on crops of acid rain, medical bills, lost work from illness, money spent on disaster relief following floods and the implied costs of resource depletion.

In 2002, SEPA found that the air quality in almost two-thirds of 300 cities it tested failed World Health Organisation standards(China)

Car emissions kill 30,000 people each year in the U.S. (2, 1998)

More than half of the people in the U.S. live in areas that failed to meet federal air quality standards at least several days a year (7, 1990), and around 80 million Americans live in areas that continually fail to meet these standards (6, 1998).

Most ozone pollution is caused by motor vehicles, which account for 72% of nitrogen oxides and 52% of reactive hydrocarbons (principal components of smog). (7, 1990)

Emissions from cars dwarfs that from power plants. In May 2000, Austin Energy planned to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 40% at its Decker and Holly power plants, from 1700 tons per year to less than 1000tpy by 2003. By comparison, NOx emissions in Travis county from motor vehicles totaled approximately 30,000 tons per year in 1996 -- the last year for which complete data was available. (1, 2000)

SUV's put out 43% more global-warming pollutants (28 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas consumed) and 47% more air pollution than the average car. (4, cited in 2002)

China has long recognized air pollution as a critical problem. Ambient concentrations of total suspended particulates (TSP) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are among the world's highest. (See

Coal burning, the primary source of China's high SO2 emissions, accounts for more than three quarters of the country's commercial energy needs, compared with 17 percent in Japan and a world average of 27 percent [20].

China is the second largest energy consumer in the world and most of its energy consumption is coal, 67 percent of primary energy consumption in 2002.,,contentMDK:20502907~pagePK:34004173~piPK:34003707~theSitePK:574015,00.html

The World Health Organization estimates that urban air pollution, to which vehicles are a significant contributor, kills 1.2 million people every year.

In 2005, the Clean Air Task Force reported that fine particle pollution from diesels (fuel used in internal combustion engines) shortens 21,000 Americans' lives each year, including 3,000 early deaths from lung cancer. 400,000 people suffer each year from asthma attacks.

Nearly 1,500 cars a day have been added to Beijing's streets since the start of the year, state media said on Tuesday, indicating new curbs on driving had not dampened the desire for automobiles. The already gridlocked and heavily polluted Chinese capital registered 65,970 new motor vehicles in the first 45 days of the year, a daily increase of 1,466, Xinhua news agency said, quoting the municipal traffic authority. That compares with about 1,350 new cars added daily in 2008,

This year's new cars brought the total in the city to 3.56 million as of February 14, the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau said, according to Xinhua.

High levels of air pollutants are known to cause respiratory diseases. A WHO report in 2006 said 32.8 million people in China had COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an umbrella term used to describe lung diseases such as bronchitis. Out of a total population of 1.3 billion, 39 million also had asthma.

WHO figures for 2004 show 110 people out of every 100,000 die from chronic respiratory diseases in China, compared to a level of 72 per 100,000 in the UK.

According to the World Bank 16 of the worlds's 20 cities with the worst air are in China. According to Chinese government sources, about a fifth of urban Chinese breath heavily polluted air. Many places smell like high-sulfur coal and leaded gasoline. Only a third of the 340 Chinese cities that are monitored meet China's own pollution standards.

The air quality of Beijing is 16 times worse than New York City.