New map by The Eco Experts visualise the best and the worst polluters in in the world

Mapping the toxicity of the world

Published in Climate Action by

With 2016 officially the hottest year on record, the effects of climate change are clear. In an effort to hold global leaders to account for their pollution of the environment, a map created by The Eco Experts has revealed the “most toxic countries in the world.”

The alarming map ranks a total of 135 countries on their ‘overall toxicity’ – a performance score based on five factors: per capita levels of energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, renewable energy production, air pollution, and deaths attributable to air pollution. Data for this research was compiled from the International Energy Agency and the World Health Organization, who also use air pollution levels as a marker of sustainable development.

The top offenders

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study shows that Saudi Arabia is the most toxic country in the world, having the highest recorded air pollution, surpassing India and even China. Neighbouring oil-rich countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dominate the worst 10 list, dragged down by their low levels of renewable energy production.

Economic powerhouses such as the United States (66th), Germany (63rd), and Russia (26th) find themselves somewhere in the middle of the toxicity scale, but have some of the worst CO2 emissions in the world.

John Whitling of the Eco Experts has said that the map is a way of “naming and shaming the worst offenders around the world” and highlighting the urgency of the environmental pollution issue. It is also an example of how simple visualisations can help frame more complex discussions around climate change. And in light of recent uncertainty regarding commitments to the Paris Agreement, performance ratings such as these act as tools with which we can put pressure on our policymakers and governments. Learn more by seeing the full map here, or check out our upcoming WDCD Climate Action Challenge to see how you can join us in finding solutions for some of our most pressing environmental problems.


Overall toxicities of countries in Europe.

Overall toxicities of countries in Europe.

The least and the most toxic countries in the world.

The least and the most toxic countries in the world.

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