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Two South African Cities Among Africa’s Most Polluted




Johannesburg and Pretoria’s inclusion among the most polluted cities on the African continent is disheartening and concerning.

In these South African metropolises, life is already challenging for many residents, dealing with deteriorating roads, soaring living costs, and escalating crime levels as reported by The South African.

The visible increase in air pollution during the winter months adds to the distressing news, especially considering that both cities are located in the continent’s most developed country.

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Pollution poses serious threats to life and the environment, affecting ecosystems and causing health hazards for residents worldwide.


The rapid industrialisation and urbanisation seen in many major cities globally have led to a significant surge in pollution, impacting the overall quality of urban life.

Measuring pollution levels is crucial, and platforms like Numbeo play a vital role in providing up-to-date information on pollution, helping to understand its impact.

According to Numbeo’s Pollution Index for 2023, Johannesburg and Pretoria rank among Africa’s top ten most polluted cities.

Rank City Country Pollution index Exp pollution index
1 Cairo Egypt 91.2 164.7
2 Lagos Nigeria 88.9 158.8
3 Marrakech Morocco 82.9 148.4
4 Casablanca Morocco 82.5 147.5
5 Nairobi Kenya 79.8 142.3
6 Addis Ababa Ethiopia 78.6 138.5
7 Alexandria Egypt 74.3 130.6
8 Tunis Tunisia 71.9 125.7
9 Johannesburg South Africa 61.3 106.6
10 Pretoria South Africa 56.1 97

The pollution index considers various factors, including air and water pollution, garbage disposal, cleanliness, noise and light pollution, green spaces, and comfort, all concerning pollution levels.

The current scenario does not bode well for the residents of these two cities. The decline in their quality of life is evident, exacerbated not only by state-controlled power cuts and prolonged water outages but also by the surge in pollution levels.


As pollution threatens health and the environment, it becomes essential to address the issue and work towards cleaner and more sustainable living environments for urban dwellers.

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Photo: Facebook / @The South African

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