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This Report Puts Onitsha as the World’s Most Polluted City | Kaduna, Aba, and Umuahia Listed among Top 20



Onitsha, a fast growing city in Anambra, a South-East state in Nigeria, has been tagged the world’s most polluted city according to a report published by the World Economic Forum.

The list was gotten from the World Health Organisation’s Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (2016 Update) which contains urban air quality data of 3,ooo cities, collected between 2011 and 2015.

According to the report, “Of the 3,000 cities in the WHO’s air quality database, the most polluted at the time of measurement was Onitsha, a fast-growing city in Nigeria, which recorded roughly 30 times more than the WHO’s recommended levels of PM10 particles. Peshawar in Pakistan was in second place, followed by Zabol in Iran.”

Other Nigerian cities included in the list were, Kaduna (5th), Aba (6th), and Umuahia (16th).

See the list below:

Top 20 world most polluted cities

Director, WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, Dr. Maria Neira who commented on the data said:

Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. At the same time, awareness is rising and more cities are monitoring their air quality. When air quality improves, global respiratory and cardiovascular-related illnesses decrease.



  1. LOVE

    May 13, 2016 at 11:14 am

    pls they should get their facts right which industry is in umuahia that it should be among d list talkless of among the first 20. plsssssss.any rubbish they gather they try shoving it down our throat. world most polluted kwaaa. mhhh what do u say to china,hongkong, etc.

    • Judith

      May 13, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      To be candid, about 3yrs ago Onitsha was horrendous. The last time I visited I promised myself to never visit but I have family there so I can’t escape. High level of pollution, unruliness, dirty, too loud and just low level of life. I thought, some parts of Lagos like Oshodi was crazy but onitsha was another level.
      Why do Nigerians live in a state of denial. Acceptance brings change. Onitsha is improving but a lot still needs to be done and we can’t deny how terrible it used to be

  2. Uju

    May 13, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Tree planting can help.

    • Tunmi

      May 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Yes!!!! Photosynthesis for the win ? ? ? ?

  3. Ekene

    May 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

    This statistics is wrong on all levels. May be five years ago, I can agree. I went to Onitsha in April and I was serious considering moving there. I wonder where the industries they mentioned in that report is in Onitsha. Onitsha is not an industrial town. It is a trading/residential city.

    Presently, Onitsha is a breath of fresh air, with good roads, wonderful refuse disposal incenarators on all major roads corners, which are removed every morning. I also noticed that they sweep roads now. From Awka road, down to main market.I was marveled by how clean the city looks.

    From the article the type of pollution at stake is air pollution, mostly from manufacturing industry waste. All the manufacturing industries in Anambra are located outside Onitsha. Towns, like Atani, ogbunike… has such industries. I wonder how they reached such conclusion. Whoever has visited Onitsha recently knows that if cities in Nigeria are to be graded on any criteria, Onitsha will definitely stand out as a place of choice.

  4. Chije Carter

    May 13, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Do you have a power generator at home? Does your family own a car? Do you have public transportation in your city? How well are these maintained, any carbon filter?

    You’re welcome.

  5. Unoma

    May 13, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I ve not been to onitsha in the past two years……it was very dirty and polluted when I last visited. Refuse dumps everywhere, Okada smoke, bad is not the onitsha I knew in my childhood.
    I am also sure they meant to say Ana in this report, not Umuahia. The Umuahia i know has no business on top 30 of this list.

  6. Gracie

    May 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

    This article is a big lie. Which kin Umuahia is polluted…..Unless there’s another one apart from the one we are living in now.

  7. Miss_Flygerian

    May 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Which Onitsha please? The Onitsha I’m very familiar with can boast of good and clean road networks. Maybe the report is referring to another Onitsha I’m not aware of.

  8. beauty

    May 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I would have been surprised if Aba wasn’t there! Aba is a pig’s sty…

  9. Emma

    May 13, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I totally agree with this study I developed asthma when I was both in Umuahia and Onitsha and when I went back to New York my doctors told me that air condition of those places i visited was very bad and that’s what triggered my asthma. But all is fine with me now but I don’t think I will visit both umuahia and Onitsha anytime soon.

  10. Author Unknown

    May 13, 2016 at 1:50 pm


  11. AMA

    May 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    ONITSHA is veryyyyy dirty and that’s the truth.

  12. Obi

    May 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    If this report came out 5 to 7 years ago then i would completely agree that Onitsha is dirty& polluted but i was home last Christmas and i couldn’t believe my eyes. Onitsha has been revamped, as in a total upgrade. Good roads, clean environs and lotta space. I did consider moving back but not yet sha. I dont agree with Onitsha being on that list. End of.

  13. nnenne

    May 14, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Perhaps , yet to recover from civil war effects.
    People are really comparing these cities to Lagos? ????
    What are the yardsticks for measurement? ??

  14. kayy

    May 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

    HABA!!! Nigeria again?!!?

    AND SOME IDIOTS ARE STILL LIVING IN DENIAL. keep defending Onitsha oh! maybe you know better than the WHO or maybe the whole world is just biased against Nigeria abi? they must be so jealous of us, thats why.

    • Tito

      May 14, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Are you okay? I’m just asking…

  15. kayy

    May 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

    actually Tito, I am not. I am embarrassed , angry and disappointed to call myself a Nigerian right now.
    The worst part of all this is that people like you think I should be “okay” with it.

    If one drives around Nigeria, they would really have to ask themselves if these are really human beings wallowing in utter filth and very ‘okay’ with it…?
    can we honestly blame the white man for calling us animals or monkeys?

    ask me again if i’m okay

  16. LieLieLie

    May 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    This people should stop giving Nigeria/Africa a horrible name. Yes the country/continent does have a HUGE problem with pollution but gatdamit …. I was in Saigon not to long ago and THAT CITY is horrible; everyone wears a freaking face mask. So bad that I developed a bad case of sinus infection that lasted all through my stay.

    I am now in Bangkok and while it isn’t as bad as Saigon, it does have a noticeable pollution problem.

    We definitely need to do a better job with pollution in Nigeria (especially the industrial cities) but there is no way that Onitsha is more polluted that Saigon (or some cities in China). The west needs to stop with the BS.

  17. diogo

    May 19, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Calm down ya all

    If this report about Onitsha was released a couple of years ago, I will swallow it hook, line and sinker but I can categorically say now that Onitsha should no longer be given a dirty-city identity. I was there in April, 2016 and I marvelled at the level of neatness due to my previous knowledge of how dirty the city was. BTW I grew up in Awka, so I know much about the area.

    This is fact, not a matter of living in denial

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