Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cities of the world with the cleanest air

Above: City with the cleanest air in the world.

Ever wonder who is getting the job done, environmentally? Here are some stats.

1. The 25 cleanest cities are in 13 countries.

2. Only two that made the top 25 in the world are south of the Equater (and both of those are in New Zealand, an island country which seems to me has some help from ocean winds.)

3. Japan is the only country on the list with clean air cities in Asia. Another island nation.

4. Honolulu is on the list. Another island. Trade winds.

5. None of the top 25 are in Central or South America. Or Africa. Or Australia.

6. All of these places still have jobs, transportation, and need places to put their garbage. So, IT CAN BE DONE!


  1. I think a couple of the cities listed are too small to be considered for such a world list. The one that surprised me the most was Pittsburgh, once a steel city.

  2. I was surprised and pleased with Pittsburgh. They must have done some impressive cleaning. I was impressed with how many were in Europe. And Canada. I wouldn't expect to see Houston on that list any time soon.

    Hawaii has always had some pretty stringent ecological safeguards. A substantial portion of their power comes from hydroelectric. People with even little creeks have energy making contraptions attached.

  3. A few tips on how to do well in the list.
    1: Be by the sea or a large body of water.
    2: Have a brisk prevailing wind.
    3: Have little or no heavy industry.

    Somehow, a place with only 29,00 inhabitants snuck in. I'll bet I could find a whole stack of places with more inhabitants, and air as clean or cleaner. Pretty much any town in New Zealand for instance and pretty much all of Scandinavia. Are you seriously trying to tell me that Calgary or Minneapolis are cleaner than Reykjavik?
    I'll give you a clue. Reykjavik is heated by geothermal, non-polluting energy. It has no furnace fumes. Most of its workers already live there, there's not a lot of commuting, but hey, you can walk or cycle most places, it's only a smallish city. No traffic jams, no railways, no subways... need I say more? Oh. And the sea on three sides. And no coal or oil-fired power plant, it's hydro-electric. The prevailing wind is from the west, off the ocean.

    As with all similar lists, I'm inclined to cry "Bogus!", unless I can see the criteria and the lists of places surveyed. To claim these are the top twenty-five, whoever makes that claim has to have surveyed ALL the population centres of the world, or at least, all those with 29,000 or more inhabitants. I think that's somewhat unlikely.

  4. @Stephanie Barr - I didn't know that about Hawaii. Interesting.

  5. @Soubriquet - You are up very early today. Or staying up all night, don't know which.

    Well, no, I don't expect you to believe this. :) You probably have a suspicion that I didn't personally make up this list, anyway.

    There is a company called Mercer Survey something or other who does these ranking each year, mainly on quality of life compared to other cities, then (of the top quality of life cities) they choose the best air and enviromental staus. So, yes, you could probably line up a lot of medium-sized cities in New Zealand or Scandanavia. I assumed you would understand that there was prequalification of some sort. Assumed wrong. :)

    This was the 2007 list, so several cities have been replaced with others by now. For a list of the 300 current 2010 qualifiers, and then the top 25 list from those, you can find the new listing here.

    The top 300 are chosen for quality of life - not just clean air - and consider things like public transportation, schools, crime rates, how they get rid of their garbage, symphony orchestras, parks. You know, quality of life items. Once they have the top 300 in the world that are the best to live in, supposedly, only then do they go into that quality of air stuff.

    Yes, I am aware of Iceland's wonderful geothermal gift, and how they've harnessed it.

    Vienna continues to be the best place in the world to live, by their checklist, though not on the cleanest 25 list.

    I agree with you about the low population ones they allow to be on their list. But I assure you I didn't personally do the survey. :)

  6. I was up late.
    Is my mother paying you to monitor my bedtimes?
    I've seen recent (2010) statements that Oslo is the best place to live and that generally, Norwegians have the best all-round quality of life. I suppose it depends whose study you read and who's paying for it to be done.

    Vienna? You must be joking, all that baroque/rococo schmalz, and too many sticky desserts. Argh. And canned Mozart drifting from every window.

    How can the Japanese cities be on the list? japan is the number-one country for suicides, if I recall correctly.

  7. According to Wikipedia, Japan is #5 with a little more than twice the rate of Canada and the US.

    I'm not sure how telling that is, however, on quality of life. Suicide does not have the same stigma in Japanese society that it does in countries that have high Christian populations, and, historically, Japan in particular has long regarded suicide as an honorable alternative to failure.

    I could go into the whys and wherefores but it would drive RM nuts, so I won't.

    It might be noted also that middle aged men facing unemployment are the drivers here. Japanese society expects a great deal of self-sufficiency from the individual, pressure that's rarely seen to the same extent in the western world.

    Technically, Canada and Norway, despite their clean cities, edge out the US in per capita suicides.

    But we win against those countries (Japan, Norway, Canada) when it comes to homicide rates, hands down. We beat Afghanistan, China, Iran, and Palestine, too.

  8. Is there such a place anymore, and if so, for how long?

  9. @Soubriquet - No, she didn't. I was just wondering. :)

    Copenhagen has the most contented citizens, according to recent reports. They've given up hope and are pretty content right now. Retirement age is 38 for a 25 hour work week. On the down side, they are due to run out of money next Friday. You're right, I don't think Japan is really allowed to have any clean cities on the list until RayKlavik gets on. Please help me by spelling it correctly twice next time you get a chance. Last I heard THEY were money-challenged as well. But don't blame it on Socialism. Coff Coff.

    Ray-O-Vac? No, there's a J in it somewhere.

    Well, maybe you should just check Vienna out a little closer, by god. Arts up the ass, I'm told. And pastries and chocolates to die for. And nobody has to work, either. With that kind of lifestyle, who needs to breathe? Mozart in a can? I thought he was still alive.

    I don't think it is fair for you to keep bringing up that suicide thing about Japan. Hairy Carry is an after-dinner tradition. Did you hear the one about the Japanese robber who confessed to the police? Yeah, he spilled his guts.

    @Stephanie Barr - I think you probably know by now that I am not fond of comments that begin, "According to Wikipedia" so just stop it.

    But since you already did, who the hell is #1 fer chrisskes? Nobody cares about #5!

    Middle-aged men who are facing unemployment are the drivers here? Why would that be? Who will the drivers be once they are unemployed?? Just tell me that. It doesn't make sense at all. Maybe it's the truck-stop food and not the prospect of unemployment. What about Canada? On second thought, never mind Canada.

    Speaking of Wikipedia, did you know that people who watch Fox News 5 nights a week live 15% longer on average and also win 83% of lotteries? New York Times readers are more likely to commit suicide.

    So you are saying clean air has no bearing on suicides? People who live in New Jersey and wear gas masks to bed never do themselves in? Cool.

    Which begs the question, who cares if someone who lives in Lillyhammer goes beserk and beats himself to death with a frozen herring? (Guns and sharp objects being outlawed there, one assumes.) Well, I guess his family would care. Norwegians still reproduce, right? Check Wikipedia on that.

    @Jeff King - Well, we just told you dude. Calgary. Listen up. :) :) But I don't know for how long they can last before their garbage starts piling up.

    I want to thank you for following my blog. Please don't take half of what I say seriously. Or ANYTHING Stephanie says.

    I recommend you do listen to A. though.

  10. Really??

    That list has absolutely no credibility. There is no scientific basis for what they have done. Take the list as a journalist's poor attempt.

    For instance, New Zealand cities are not clean. They have major policy problems, all related to wood burning. I have tried to live in and around Wellington, but have had to keep moving because of the pollution. Just the other day a business (a firewood selling business) was burning off rubbish in a suburban area. I rang the city council and the fire was unpermitted. So instead of fines or prosecutions they issued it a permit. I pointed out it was already a nuisance, and they permitted a nuisance unnecessary burn off pile in a suburban area because they are dumb. On still nights you sometimes can't see from one side of some suburbs to the other. The talentless schmucks who pass for fire officers think their job is to smoke everyone out.

    And as for Pittsburgh, I think there is a group called G.A.S.P. that is trying to get clean air laws there, because of a lack of protection from wood burning.

  11. @MXT21 - You seem like you are into this issue very seriously, so I promise not to antagonize you. I too love clean air. Ok, this list is probably propaganda from some travel guide site. Dunno. It seemed interesting, so there you go.

    I don't think I've ever received a comment from New Zealand before, much less a seriously earnest one. :) Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you will again - just to be friendly even if I don't blog about clean air all that frequently. We all care about it, that's for sure.

    P.S. - I Googled "Kapiti Coast" and the pictures are GORGEOUS! If you live there you are soooooo lucky!



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