Unless you’re in the oil business, there’s little reason to brave the choking pollution of Baku, Azerbaijan. Fetid water, oil ponds and life-threatening levels of air pollution emitted from drilling and shipping land the former Soviet manufacturing center at the bottom of this year’s list as the world’s dirtiest city.
Baku is bad, but far from alone. For residents of the 25 cities on this year’s list, black plumes of smoke, acid rain and free-flowing sewage are part of everyday life. Not as immediately visible: the impact on the population’s health and life expectancy.
To see which cities in the world were dirtiest, we turned to Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s 2007 Health and Sanitation Rankings. As part of their 2007 Quality of Life Report, they ranked 215 cities worldwide based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital services, medical supplies and the presence of infectious disease.