Breathtaking Facts and Statistics About Air Pollution Close to Your Breath


Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems in the world. It can cause devastating damage to the earth and your health.

92% of the world's population lives in areas with polluted air. Every year, 7,000,000 people die from air pollution.

Here are some shocking facts about air pollution you need to know, to help you realize how serious the environmental problem is. And we also provide tips to help you reduce harmful pollutants and improve air quality indoor.

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1. Air Pollution Facts Statistics

(1) Worldwide Air Pollution Facts

(2) Air Pollution Statistics in Asia

(3) Air Pollution Reality in Africa

(4) Air Pollution Situation in North America

(5) Air Pollution Facts in South America

(6) Air Pollution Truth in Europe

(7) Air Pollution Statistics in Australia

2. How to Protect Yourself from Air Pollution

3. Conclusion

Shocking Facts About Air Pollution

Here are the worldwide air pollution statistics, as well as data in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia.

1. Worldwide Air Pollution Facts

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, at least nine out of ten people worldwide live in places with polluted air.

The following chart is the PM2.5 air pollution statistics of five continents in recent 30 years:

Continent/PM2.5 (μg/m3)





North America





South America





















According to the above graph, in recent 30 years, the average annual concentration of PM2.5 in Asian countries and regions is the highest, while that in North America is relatively low.

In 2005, the guideline limit specified by WHO for floating particles was that the annual average concentration of particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) should not exceed 10 μg/m3. (It has been revised to 5μg/m3 in 2021.)

7,000,000 people die from air pollution every year. More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, including the world's top ten polluted countries mentioned.

Around 65% of the deaths in Asia and 25% of deaths in India were caused by air pollution.

4,200,000 people die due to outdoor air pollution and 3,800,000 people die from indoor air pollution.

The global welfare losses caused by air pollution amount to $5.11 trillion a year.

By Region:

  • North America: $495 billion
  • Europe and Central Asia: $1,245 billion
  • South Asia: $604 billion
  • East Asia: $2,306 billion
  • Latin America: 194 billion
  • Africa: $114 billion
  • Middle East and North Africa: $154 billion

Air pollution will also shorten the average life of people. It is estimated that the average life expectancy of a typical human will be reduced by about 1-2 years.

Air pollution costs nearly $5.11 trillion a year. In 2013, The World Bank and the Institute for Health and Metrics conducted a joint report on economic losses caused by exposure to air pollution.

This study is based on the individual's willingness to pay to reduce the chance of death, and on the full economic cost of premature death, including the loss of wages, consumption, leisure, and health.

2. Air Pollution Statistics in Asia

According to the latest data from the WHO, air pollution levels in many parts of Asia are still at high level. About one-third of the 7 million premature deaths caused by air pollution in the world every year, that is 2,200,000, are located in Asia.

Bangladesh and Pakistan have the worst air quality in Asia even in the world. Both countries are labeled with unhealthy levels of air pollution.

In 2015, the majority of global deaths from ambient (outdoor) air pollution, 35%, occurred in East Asia and the Pacific. About 33% occurred in South Asia.

In 2019, 1,670,000 air pollution-related deaths occurred in India according to Our World in Data.

Main countries affected by air pollution in Asia:











3. Air Pollution Reality in Africa

A recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health shows that in 2019, air pollution caused 1,100,000 deaths in Africa, more than half of which were related to household (indoor) pollution.

More than 350,000,000 African children live in households that use solid fuels (mainly wood and coal) for cooking and heating.

According to a simulation study by NASA researchers, air pollution causes about 780,000 premature deaths in Africa every year.

Air pollution in Nigeria is more serious than any other country on the African continent. The WHO ranks four cities in Nigeria as the worst air quality countries in the world.

As one of the economic centers of Nigeria, Onitsha tops the list of worst-ranked cities globally with a record of 30 times higher than the level recommended by the WHO, and is one of the countries with the worst air quality in the world.

In 2019, due to the morbidity and mortality related to air pollution, the economic output loss was $3.02 billion in Ethiopia (1.16% of GDP), $163 million in Ghana (0.95% of GDP), and $349 million in Rwanda (1.19% of GDP)

The most polluted countries in Africa: 













4. Air Pollution Situation in North America

The second most polluted region in 2020 is North America, which emits 5.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

In 2019, 60,229 air pollution-related deaths occurred in the United States, according to Our World in Data.

In 2021, about 67,000,000 tons of pollution were emitted into the atmosphere in the United States.

Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer. Air pollution in America is estimated to cause 50,000 deaths every year.

Here are the seven states with the most polluted air in the US, from the American Lung Association's (ALA) State of the Air 2022 report.

  • California
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Washington
  • Ohio

According to the study of The Government of Canada, air pollution in Canada is linked to:

  • 15,300 premature deaths
  • 2,700,000 asthma symptom days
  • 35,000,000 acute respiratory symptom days

The World Bank indicates that air pollution kills nearly 33,000 Mexicans every year. Nearly 20,000 of those died from outdoor air pollution, mostly in towns and cities. The remaining 13,000 were due to household air pollution from cooking with wood and other solid fuels. This mainly affects rural communities.

5. Air Pollution Facts in South America

About 81,000,000 people are exposed to air pollutants that exceed the WHO guidelines, accounting for 19% of the total population in South America.

More than 230,000 people died from air pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019. Between 2016 and 2019, deaths from air pollution in Mexico and Chile increased by 5% and 9% respectively.

Main countries with a high level of ambient particulate matter pollution in South America:






El Salvador



6. Air Pollution Truth in Europe

The highest number of deaths related to air pollution is in Eastern Europe. In 2012, Ukraine had 120 deaths per 100000 residents, making it the country with the largest number of air pollution deaths.

The annual average concentration of PM2.5 in Bulgaria (19.6 μg/m3) and Poland (19.3 μg/m3) is the highest in Europe, followed by Romania (16.4 μg/m3) and Croatia (16.0 μg/m3).

Estonia (4.8 μg/m3), Finland (5.1 μg/m3) and Sweden (5.8 μg/m3) and other urban areas have better air quality, and the concentration of fine particles in these cities is the lowest.

Particulate air pollution causes 307,000 premature deaths each year across Europe, the European Environment Agency said.

In 2018, the number of deaths associated with fine particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter or PM2.5 was estimated to be 346,000.

In 2019, fine particles caused 53,800 premature deaths in Germany, 49,900 in Italy, 29,800 in France and 23,300 in Spain. Poland has 39,300 deaths, which is the country with the largest number of deaths per capita.

7. Air Pollution Statistics in Australia

Australia is one of the countries with better air quality in the world. Nevertheless, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that about 3000 people in Australia die each year from air pollution. The health cost caused by air-polluted death is about $11-24 billion per year.

In 2019, Australia ranked 10th among the 98 global countries in the 2019 World Air Quality Report, and the national average PM2.5 level was 8.0 μg/m3, which is in line with the annual PM2.5 level of 8 μg/m3 set by Australian National Environmental Policy Council and also reaches the annual PM2.5 target - 10 μg/m3 of the WHO.

Well, after knowing these shocking air pollution statistics, you should know how to do your part to protect the environment as well as yourself from air pollution.

How to Protect Yourself from Air Pollution

Although it is impossible to completely avoid the impact of air pollution, you can take measures to reduce indoor air pollutants. Here are some ways to improve the air quality in your home.

#1. Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are very effective in removing air pollutants. The HEPA air purifier can remove more than 99% of harmful particles in the air, including dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, smoke, VOCs and other allergens.

Searching for air filter, but do not know how to choose? Check out our best air purifier for you.

#2. Clean the AC Filter

If you have an air conditioning system installed in your home, be sure to clean the air conditioning filter regularly. The air condition provides cooling air for your home. When it works, it also filters out some common pollutants in the air.

The AC filter screen will accumulate a large number of dust particles, producing a large number of bacteria and viruses. These harmful substances circulate indoors with the air, aggravating indoor air pollution.

Therefore, you should clean your AC filter after it works for a period of time, ensuring you have a healthy and fresh air environment.

#3. Keep a High Airflow

Keep the indoor air circulating and let fresh air in. If weather permits, open doors and windows to increase indoor ventilation. This is a simple and free way to improve air quality.

#4. Use a Range Hood

Many indoor pollutants come from the kitchen. Cooking produces a large number of household air pollutants, including soot particles that may penetrate deep into the lungs.

Therefore, you should turn on the range hood or open the kitchen vent to help remove these harmful pollutants when cooking.

#5. Keep Your Home Clean

It will be healthier to keep your home clean. Good indoor hygiene can reduce the amount of dust and mold in the air.

The carpet collects dust and other particles. Vacuum areas such as carpets and sofas twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.

Clean bedclothes and curtains regularly because they can catch a lot of dust and cause discomfort and allergies.

#6. Houseplants

Houseplants can purify the air. They usually have large, shiny, waxy leaves that provide a wide surface area to attract and trap dust. Some plants that can catch indoor dust are lotus leaf trees, peace lily, rubber plants, ivy, and pygmy date palm. 


The fact of air pollution tells us that it is urgent to protect the environment. Considering the air pollution's impact on human health and economy, we should take action to make the world a pollution-free, healthier and safer place to live.

The best thing we can do is to defend our right to breathe clean air. Experts in Purivortex suggest that using air purifiers can protect you from the threat of air pollution indoors. Air purifiers can filter out most pollutants in your home. It is a worthwhile investment for you who want to keep healthy and safe.


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