Believe It or Not, the Philippines Has One of the Best Air Quality in Asia

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“Quality air” is not really the word we’d use to describe Metro Manila’s streets. But it pays to remember that outside the capital, there are plenty of beaches, mountains, and open areas in the Philippines to make up for all the smoke-belching on EDSA. In fact, the Philippines has the third-best air quality in all of Asia, after Japan and Singapore.

According to the latest IQAir World Air Quality Report, the Philippines’ air quality is deemed “moderate” and comes in at 70th place on IQAir’s worst air pollution rankings. On this list, the farther you are from the top, the better. Singapore and Japan were the only other Asian countries to have better air quality than the Philippines.

Infographic: How Air Quality Compares in Asia | Statista Courtesy of Statista

Puerto Rico is the lowest ranking country on the list, which means that it has the best air quality and the least amount of air pollution out of all the countries on the list. Other countries with stellar air quality are Sweden, Canada, Australia.


As for the worst? That unfortunate title goes to Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan, India, Mongolia, and Afghanistan—all Asian countries. IQAir also measured the air pollution levels of cities and found that the Chinese city of Hotan is the most polluted city on Earth. But after Hotan, the next 13 cities with the worst air quality are all located in India.

Infographic: The Most Polluted Cities On Earth | Statista Courtesy of Statista

Despite this, 2020 actually experienced an overall improvement in air quality in 84 percent of countries included in IQAir’s report. But out of the 106 countries monitored by IQAir, only 24 met the World Health Organization’s (WHO) PM2.5 levels in 2020.

The report bases its findings on global particulate pollution (PM2.5) levels, which are gathered on ground-based monitoring stations, most of which are operated by government agencies. According to WHO, air pollution is a growing health hazard and has caused or contributed to the number of deaths by stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease worldwide.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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