A recent report titled “2021 World Air Quality Report” by IQAir has revealed that Turkey’s eastern province of Iğdır became the most polluted city in Europe in 2021, and 49th most polluted city in the world out of 6,475 cities.
Turkey's northern province of Düzce became the fifth most polluted city in Europe. The capital Ankara ranks 54th among capitals in the report.
Air pollution, which is associated with close to seven million deaths annually, is seen as the biggest environmental health threat.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, PM2.5 value should be at most five μg/m in order to breathe clean air in a region. 97% of cities worldwide have exceeded this threshold. In other words, only 222 of the 6,475 cities examined breathed fresh air in 2021 according to WHO standards.
PM2.5 particles, one 30th the diameter of the hair, are associated with some respiratory diseases and lung cancer.
Accordingly, air pollution in Turkey was three to five times higher than the WHO guideline values throughout the year in 2021. PM2.5 concentration in Turkey was measured as 20 μg/m2 on average in 2021. With this ratio, Turkey became the seventh country with the most polluted air among 42 countries in the European region, and 46th country in the world.
The report ranks Iğdır first in the list of cities with the most polluted air in Europe with a density of 66 μg/m.
The report stated that the intense fires seen across Europe from Spain to Turkey in the summer of 2021 contributed to the increase in air pollution.