The 10 Countries with the Cleanest Air in the World

Ever wonder what the ten countries with the cleanest air in the world are? If you are concerned about the effects of pollution on your health or simply want to know which countries contribute the least to global warming, the following list might interest you.

According to the World Health Organization, which put forward a report on the global air quality with statistics relative to each nation, factors such as low population density and strict regulations on air pollution were the main factors behind clean air. Of course, certain weather conditions, as well as an abundance of forests also helped certain nations obtain a high score, since these act as natural air filters. Thus, we can expect large countries with huge unpopulated areas covered by trees to be frontrunners on our list of the 10 countries with the cleanest air in the world.

If you have already seen our list on the 20 countries with the best quality of life, you might be thinking that some of these nations will also appear on our list of the the countries with the cleanest air in the world. After all, breathing fresh air and not being bothered by pesky things such as acid rain certainly contributes to a higher standard of living. Despite the fact that life expectancy is higher in countries with cleaner air, we must also remember that quality of life usually takes into account national income per capita, which is increasingly higher in countries with strong industries.

If industry is not well regulated, the effects of air pollution are obvious, thus rendering the upside of higher income irrelevant in terms of better air quality. On the other hand, nations that can afford to implement tougher regulations on industry without crippling their economy or forcing their businesses into bankruptcy, tend to be wealthy. Hence, we shouldn’t expect poor nations to fare too well in our ranking of the ten countries with the cleanest air in the world, much like strong economies which lack regulatory strength also don’t make the cut.

10. Luxembourg

The small European nation has very clean air, thanks to an overall lack of pollution, strict regulations and low population density.


9. Ireland

With so many green hills and open space, Ireland has managed to keep its air very clean. In addition to environmental regulations, the Irish are lucky to be so exposed to strong winds coming in from the sea and swooping the little pollution they generate away.


8. Sweden

On the forefront of innovation in so many areas, Sweden is the envy of almost every country in the world. In addition to their great progress in economic, political, and social terms, the Swedish have protected their wildlife and their clean air very effectively.


Get a breath of fresh air in the seven countries with the cleanest air in the world, continuing on the next page.

7. New Zealand

On the other side of the globe is another country that can be proud of its clean air: New Zealand. Low population density and an abundance of wildlife are indicative of this nation’s lack of air pollution.

New Zealand

6. Denmark

Denmark not only offers its citizens a great quality of life, but apparently also clean air. Air pollution in Denmark is almost half of that of neighboring Germany, which can hardly say it has much more to offer its population than the Danish.


5. Estonia

Estonia used to rank first on this list but for some reason it has fallen to the fifth spot. Nevertheless, this nation’s huge expanses of forest contribute to keep its air clean as can be.


4. Brunei Darussalam

As one of the most developed nations in Asia, Brunei has also managed to maintain clean air standards, despite its rapid industrialization. This remote country with a very small population might not be known to all, yet it is a clear example of success in the region.

Brunei Mosque

3. Finland

Positioning itself amongst the top three is Finland, which enjoys air almost twice as clean as that of neighboring Norway. Forests and wildlife have little fear of pollution in this nation, much like its population, which perceives the maintenance of their clean air as being paramount.


2. Canada

Despite being one of the largest countries in the world, Canada also enjoys a very low population density. Huge tracts of land are covered by forests, and its population is largely concentrated towards the more temperate south of the country. Clean air is all you will breath in their nation which takes great pride in the preservation of its wildlife.


1. Iceland

The country with the cleanest air in the world is Iceland. As the most sparsely populated country in Europe, Iceland has not had much trouble keeping air pollution at bay, especially since many areas are inhabitable due to the volcanic activity. Nevertheless, this country is far from being purely a nature preserve, boasting a solid economy and ranking 13th on the Human Development Index.