Countries With the Most Pollution-Related Deaths

Industrial plants in Ukraine.
Industrial plants in Ukraine.

Air pollution, by definition, occurs when certain harmful substances find their way into the Earth’s atmosphere. These substances may have different effects on people such as allergies, diseases, and sometimes death. Other living things such as animals and plants may also be negatively affected. Data shows that pollution causes millions of deaths every year. For example, in 2014, the World Health Organization reported that air pollution was responsible for the deaths of about seven million people in the world. This is a list of the world's populations that are most vulnerable to pollution, as per the number of pollution-related deaths as reported by the WHO

Countries with the Most Pollution-Related Deaths

Data shows that Sudan has the highest number with 124 people out of 100,000 dying because of pollution. Bulgaria is a close second with 121 people while Georgia is third with 119 people. Chad, Hungary, and Latvia are in the last position with each having 83 people.


Sudan, which is a country in East Africa, has an area of about 1.88 million square kilometers. The ravaging civil war in the nation has led to the development of certain issues such as land degradation and desertification. Consequently, this has also exposed the nation to other forms of pollution with the most prominent one being food pollution due to weak control and supervision from the government. This kind of pollution arises from uncontrolled chemical treatments and fertilizers. Air pollution is also prominent due to gas emissions, the treatment of gases, and other sources.


Ukraine has some of Europe’s most polluted regions since industrial development started back in the 19th century. The pollution is particularly pronounced in industrialized cities such as Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, and others in southeastern Ukraine. A substantial amount of the emissions are from automobile transport, which is made worse by the widespread use of leaded gasoline and engines that burn fuel inefficiently. Another kind of pollution that plagues the nation is water pollution, which mostly arises from high population densities and loose government policies.


A study done recently by The International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that Georgia has the highest number of deaths due to air pollution among all countries. According to the report, about 18,000 Georgians die due to air pollution every day. One of the reasons why the figure is so high is that many people prefer using private transportation to public means. Consequently, there is an influx in the number of cars and subsequent pollution. To make it worse, as experts believe, this influx consists of old and dirty diesel vehicles. These figures mean that air pollution is worse than road injuries, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis combined.


Late last year, Bulgaria received a major warning about the condition of its particulate matter concentration in Sofia’s air. According to reports, the concentration was at least double the allowed levels due to factors like passenger cars, the use of low-grade coal, refuse, and wood for heating purposes.

Common Pollutants

Pollutants are the things in the air that affect human beings. They may be solid, gases, or liquids. Some of the common pollutants include carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide.

Countries With the Most Pollution-Related Deaths

RankCountryPollution Deaths Per 100,000 People
5North Korea89

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