Kuwait, the Second Most Toxic Country in the World

Post by Mark

The Eco Experts recently revealed the “most toxic countries in the world” and Kuwait came in second place. The data was compiled by taking five environmental factors into account:

– Energy consumption per capita
– CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
– Air pollution levels
– Deaths attributable to air pollution
– Renewable energy production.

Even though last year I posted a study which ranked Kuwait’s air quality as the 9th worst in the world, I still found this new study as surprising as I found that one. I guess because when I imagine bad air quality I imagine those articles in the news about China, where the smog is so bad planes can’t land and visibility is down to nothing. But here, I mean other than the occasional dust storms, the weather is usually pretty clear and doesn’t seem polluted at all.

But it is.

A friend found out the local US Embassy has a Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) which you can check out from your phone or browser. According to the index, the air quality at this very moment as I write this post is “Very Unhealthy”. That’s pretty scary. You can check the AQI yourself by clicking [Here]

Now if we go back to the list of most toxic countries, you’ll notice something in common with the top 10:

1- Saudi Arabia
2- Kuwait
3- Qatar
4- Bahrain
5- United Arab Emirates
6- Oman
7- Turkmenistan
8- Libya
9- Kazakhstan
10- Trinidad and Tobago

All 10 nations are all heavily involved in the oil and gas industry. If you want to read more about this study, here is a [Link]

Maybe a doctor can chime in in the comments below about the potential health issues that can be caused by this.

Update: Since I published the post the current air quality index has gone up to the status of “Hazardous”! WTF?!

Thanks Omair and Nibaq


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28 comments, add your own...


  1. Adil says:

    Why aren’t ‘Humans’ one of those 5 bulleted points?

  2. Dun says:

    Here the proper iOS link: http://ios.aqicn.org/?9448

    and if this is true we are all seriously screwed and our children are in great danger! Seriously this is insanity!!! Currently at 358

  3. nasser says:

    at least we made the top 10 in something

  4. Ahmed says:

    I think China has more air pollution than us.

  5. meh says:

    Looking at the map, some of the results are a bit questionable.

    But, I would totally agree with the result in the next two years from all the traffic generated from closing Alghazali.

  6. sulaiman-COOKIEEEE says:

    but ive never even seen smog in the gcc? the first two are probably the main reason why we are so low… I think. either way I aint givin much to this tbh.

  7. Flupo says:

    With all my respect to the study and however did it, but stating that Canada is more toxic than USA and some others like Sudan, Malaysia and India (with all my respect) doesn’t make any sense to me. Especially most of the areas with high toxic air in Canada are empty lands where there is only snow and couple of people in the north territories (kind of north poll)

    • theiman says:

      Wrong, having lived in the ‘big smoke’ for 20+ years you have heavy smog constantly – that haze you see over Toronto – that’s pure pollution all the way up to cottage country.

      • Flupo says:

        I agree with you about the smog over Toronto, but first it’s just few days in the year and it’s mainly on Toronto not all over Canada. Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Qubec don’t get it not to mention the northern territories. I just don’t see the logic of having a contaminated air there more than India and Sudan. Common give me a break.

  8. Kuwait says:

    Maybe the guys down at the embassy have a lot of baked beans and potato all the time :)

  9. Vinod Kumar says:

    Looks like the major contributing factors here are
    – Energy consumption per capita
    – CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
    – Renewable energy production

    And not the overall air quality.

  10. James says:

    I clicked the link to the study which makes it very clear that this is not just for air pollution but rather a combination of several factors including measures to introduce alternative energy, CO2 footprint etc. This makes more sense as merely on air pollution measure, there are probably far worst countries than Kuwait.

  11. Buzz says:

    We don’t feel how bad the air quality is because we’re used to it. I can only tell the difference when I go to the Swiss Alps in the summer. The air quality there is like going to another planet, super fresh and super clean. On the way back, the minute I step out of Kuwait airport I feel like I just stuck my nose in an exhaust pipe. Yes, it is that bad.

  12. Ed says:

    Damn that’s dissappinting , we should work harder since we are number one in all the bad things , obesity, number one in diabetiese and number one in divorce rate in the region, we should try and get the first place soon;)

  13. Armando says:

    What I found interesting that Canada is the worst offender in the Americas even tough the always play the defenders of the planet

  14. yousef says:

    To speak of the USA Embassy’s PM index on Monday 12 FEB and Tuesday 13 FEB: The dust in the air has been quite high. This is not to say that I don’t argue with the points regarding Kuwait’s pollution, but these last two days are not average.

  15. Nathan says:

    Its varying a lot on that website, shows. Unhealthy now with 109, weird.

  16. Abdul Mumin says:

    Pollution or no Pollution,You will only get sick or die when your time is due.Pollution is everywhere.. May Allah help us all…

  17. Vanessa says:

    I live out here in the GCC. The skies are always blue, and it is sunny most of the time. I believe it is polluted because of the oil companies however, I find it hard to believe that ‘Renewable Energy’ is a contradiction in terms. If everyone is crying for renewable energy and it causes so much pollution, then why do we want it. I call BS. And if someone wants to quote me the website of the AQI in the US, it sounds fishy to me since our government is trying all the time to discourage travel to the Gulf Coast Countries. I’ve been here 3 years, and take pretty good care of myself and exercise up to 4 times a week, and I am hardly ever sick. So I have a hard time believing any of this.

  18. munge says:

    lets not forget the depleted uranium and all the fallout from the weapons used in Iraq since the Americans decided to bring that all with them and bomb the shit out of our neighbours. Quality of air might not always be something we can see

  19. Wyn says:

    I never bothered to check Air Quality reports thinking worst things were only Sandstorms in Kuwait (and the Middle-East). Yes, a quick glance into Air Quality reports from organizations like WHO & Plume suggest Middle-East is quite really in the RED. One reason this is uncovered because earlier here no-one really setup or were not allowed to set up monitoring of the Air Quality perhaps like Iran.

    But one thing is these reports often confuse and contradict. And we will still find healthy locals in all of these countries who are still living above & beyond the age of 90.

    BUT we still need to take it very seriously and still take care of ourselves and our family. As an immediate measure, I can only suggest get your HOME/Office an “AIR PURIFIER”. I might sound like a salesman but I had a SHARP unit since 2008. They can only do good but no harm.

    The HOME USE category ones probably won’t cut pollution or improve air quality significantly but will help. But there are other very expensive units which can cut pollution too.

    Have one in every room if you can afford or in places you spend most of your time. Do some research and Buy from reputed companies like SHARP (I bought from Al-Yousofi) & BLUEAIR (available at X-Cite I think but be sure of their service).

    Please do not buy any cheap units with ionizers etc. There are a hell lot. Good ones cost 150KD and above. Because you can run them 24hrs at low watt. Cheap ones are for 20 to 50KD & can have unreliable electrical components.

    Get one for your car if you fancy but again from reputed companies like Philips etc. Did you know that one of the Lexus models, I think the LS460 had a Oxygen generation unit which pumped pure oxygen into the cabin of the car because home indoor and car cabin air quality is often 10 times as bad as outdoor :)

    I left Kuwait 4 years ago (not because of the pollution though :)… but still connected to Kuwait via 248am :) Thanks to the blog!

  20. Fahad says:

    Bare in mind “dust” is considered a pollutant, and could very well be the reason why Kuwait is ranked so high.


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