Qatar’s high level of air pollution has earned it a spot on a new map that highlights the world’s most toxic countries.
The Gulf state ranked fourth worst on the list, which was published in January by UK-based Eco Experts and picked up by the Weather Channel this week.
The most toxic country was neighboring Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain. The UAE and Oman came just after Qatar on the index.
To come up with the map, Eco Experts analyzed data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Energy Agency. It zeroed in specifically on five factors:
- Energy consumption, per capita;
- Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, per capita;
- Air pollution;
- Deaths attributable to air pollution, per 100,00 capita; and
- Renewable energy production.
In a statement, SEO manager Jon Whiting explained the company’s motivations for coming up with the rankings.
“This research is a way of naming and shaming the worst offenders around the world. Their lack of action against emissions not only puts their populations at risk of deadly pollution-related diseases but also threatens the future of our planet.
These threats are not distant concerns for future generations; their effects are being felt now and lives are already being lost. This research highlights the need for every country to act fast and put more investment into renewable energy alternatives.”
As an energy producing nation, it’s no surprise that Qatar has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world.
But Qatar also has poor air quality.
According to a 2016 WHO report, air pollution in Qatar vastly exceeds safe limits and is damaging the health of the population.
It stated that Qatar has the second highest levels of PM2.5 particles in the world, behind Saudi Arabia.
These types of particles are small and fine, making it easier to affect the respiratory system and thus particularly dangerous to health.
Exposure to fine PM2.5 particles can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, lung cancer and heart disease.
Recent research has also linked them to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Aware of the country’s dismal environmental record, Qatar has been working to invest more in renewable energy sources.
And last year, it signed onto the Paris Agreement, the first universal action plan to tackle global warming.