The Cleanest Cities in the World

Measuring cleanliness is often subjective, but some cities score high repeatedly


Decades after the Clean Air Act, people are breathing easier in some places. Many non-profit organizations have annual reports analyzing the air quality in different cities all over the world.

While rankings vary because of dissimilar criteria used for the comparisons, some places, such as the ones on the following list, make these sorts of lists year after year.[slideshow:98826]

The ways cities keep their environments clean varies from extremely strict measures such as banning cars that give out smoke, to more voluntary ones such as raising awareness about the invisible long-term damage polluted air inflicts on people’s health.

By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, according to the World Health Organization.

Overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from exhaust smoke from cars—can kill. It can also interfere with the growth and work of the lungs, according to the American Lung Association.

Policies and investments supporting cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing, power generation, industry and better municipal waste management have shown to reduce key sources of urban pollution.

Click here for 16 of the Cleanest Cities in the World

More readings: 

Cities with the Best and Safest Drinking Water in America

The 16 Countries Where Americans Move to Most Frequently

These Are the Places Where People Refuse to Die