Most of the industrially developing countries are residing in Asia, making Asia the world’s most polluted continent. As these countries are developing there is an increase in industrial plants, factories, and population which is causing a great surge in pollution and particulate matter (PM). The major problem is not the growing industry but the lack of treatment of industrial waste. As these countries are yet developing there very few factories with proper treatment plants. Drainage of wastes in local water bodies, emission of smoke in the open air and dumping of residue on land is causing water, air, and land pollution.
Polluted Asian Countries
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated and polluted countries in Asia. There is an undeniable link between its population and pollution. 27% of deaths are caused due to pollution. The main pollution in this country is of the air. The smoke from the brick-making kilns is killing more people than AIDS/HIV. The congested streets of Dhaka with the worst AQI (Air Quality Index: higher scores means more polluted) of 327, overflowing with people, traffic, smoke, and noise is prima facie of Bangladesh’s pollution.
The next polluted country in Asia is Pakistan. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is getting worse due increase in road vehicles, inflation, and loss of trees. The poor drainage and sewerage system is causing contamination of underground water which is leading to several waterborne diseases among locals. Improper dumping sites for the wastes and garbage burning and the government’s lack of interest in countering the pollution issue is also a reason for the unhealthy AQI of the country. Thousands of medical cases related to pollution are seen every day in Lahore, as the city has claimed the title of “Most Unbreathable City” with a whooping Air Quality Index of 551 at max.
India is the 3rd most polluted Asian country. The 21 most polluted cities in the world belong to India. The growing industrial sector and a rise in personal transport are causing a great deal of damage to the environment. The establishment of automobile industries, thermal plants and other local factories in the past few decades have made India another rising economy in Asia. However, this rise is causing a fall in the country’s environmental quality. The use of cheap fuel and cow dung by locals is contaminating air and dumping of residues in water bodies is causing lots of health issues. The Lustrous walls of TAJ MAHAL turned green due to contamination of air by particulate matter and acid rains. Over the past few years, the smog issue is in the air which is causing flight delays and closing of educational institutes.
Afghanistan is the fourth most polluted Asian country. Air pollution in this country is far more fatal than the war conflicts as there are more deaths caused by Household Air Pollution (HAP) relative to war casualties. The conflicts gave this country broken infrastructure and lots of sulfur dioxide which is giving birth to thick smog clouds in Kabul causing flight cancellations. The poor economy is making locals use cheap quality fuel for generators and old automobiles. The overground, as well as underground water sources, are highly contaminated. The food grown on contaminated soil is the main reason for food poisoning. The situation regarding the AQI of the country is getting worse as the government has to deal with other major issues like poverty and civil conflicts.
Bahrain is the most polluted country in the middle east and the fifth most in Asia. Even though it is a gulf country but due to the emission of smoke from a lot of oil refineries, the air is highly contaminated. The oil refineries use a variety of chemicals that remain toxic even after treatment. Sandstorms are another reason for Bahrain’s air pollution as they carry toxins and radioactive particles from far away wastelands and deserts eg. Sahara. Air pollution is the only major form in Bahrain and it causes a lot of respiratory illnesses.
Mongolia has a notorious reputation regarding air pollution. It is the sixth most polluted country in Asia. The source of pollution is the combustion of coal and the burning of crops and other agriculture-related by-products. The country is facing a lot of health issues due to the high amount of particulate matter contamination of air. The government is taking essential steps to control air pollution as it is leading to a lot of lung diseases. The government has banned the use of coal in its capital Ulaanbaatar as 46% of the country’s population reside there. And there is an increase in respiratory diseases by 2.7 times over the decade. Moreover, locals have lost there lung functioning by 40%.
Kuwait is one of the largest oil exporters in the world and its oil industry has brought Kuwait at seventh place in the most polluted countries in Asia. The oil refineries and fossil fuel combustion are worsening the Air Quality Index of the country. The dust storms cause potentially toxic hydrocarbons to stay in air and circle around the cities. Kuwait suffers from water shortage issues and the waste material from oil refineries somewhat contaminate the littler water reservoirs the country possesses. There is very low biodiversity and agriculture in the country which leaves the government with problems with renewable energy sources. Yet, the government has increased taxes on oil to counter the air pollution and to help them check the pollutants released by oil industries.
The major causes of pollution in Asia are industrialization without proper protocols, excessive use of automobiles, improper waste management, loss of trees and natural forest, overpopulation, and low-quality fuel consumption. The governments are not taking enough interest in the rising pollution levels in their respective countries. Most of them do not follow eco-friendly protocols. Moreover, the public should be aware of the pollution issues as it will take all of us to make the environment healthier and safer for our future generations.
I hope that this article on most polluted countries in Asia was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Rankings Page!