Swiss air quality technology company IQAir yesterday (14 March 2023) released the 5th Annual World Air Quality Report, which reveals details of the world’s most polluted countries, territories, and regions in 2022. For this year’s report, data from more than 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,323 locations in 131 countries, territories, and regions was analyzed by the company’s air quality scientists. According to the Report, Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape is not only the city with the cleanest air (PM2.5* concentration 0.8 µg/m³) in South Africa, but also on the African continent. Grabouw (2.6 µg/m³), also located in the Western Cape, comes in second followed by Nieuwoudtville (3.4 µg/m³) in the Northern Cape, Knysna (5.2 µg/m³) and Cape Town (6.7 µg/m³). On the downside, two South African cities are among the most polluted cities on the African continent. Thabazimbi* (42.2 µg/m³) in Limpopo is the city in South Africa with the worst air quality (Africa #7) followed by Ekurhuleni (31.0 µg/m³ | Africa #13) in Gauteng. South Africa as a whole has the 39th worst air of the 131 countries in the report. The country had an average PM2.5 concentration of 23.40.8 µg/m³ in 2022.
Please note: Only 19 out of 54 countries in Africa had sufficient data available to be included in the 5th Annual World Air Quality Report, leaving 35 countries unaccounted for.
* The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5 concentrations is five micrograms per cubic meter or 5 µg/m³ annually.
** Thabazimbi experienced several fire breakouts and a shortage of operational firefighting in 2022 observed annual PM2.5 levels around 42.2 µg/m³, a 50% increase in comparison to 2021.
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