You think Beijing is polluted? Not compared to a bunch of other cities

A few months ago Beijing’s air quality made global news headlines as they recorded record amounts of dangerous particles in the air. This gave me the impression that China, and Beijing in particular, is among the most polluted places on earth. A recent article from Slate Magazine shows it actually isn’t that bad when comparing to the pollution capitals of the world. New Deli in India is 12th of the list, but the number one pollution centre: Ahwaz in Iran (I say what, you say what), followed by Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital and the center of some kind of mining boom if I remember an Economist articles from a few years back correctly.

Point is, the media frenzy regarding the air quality in Beijing gave me the impression that it was one of the worst polluted cities in the world, turns out it’s not even close to the top. I suppose it’s not really good news, as it means millions of people have it even worse, but it does put things into perspective, a job I wish/expect journalists to provide. But I guess it’s difficult to create a good headline on that. And I assume Ahwaz isn’t exactly a web traffic magnet for the international news media.


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