Clean and Green - which cities can be described with these exact words?

Clean and Green - The Cities on Top

No place like home

Nowadays we’re constantly hearing what irreversible harm we’re causing to the planet we call home and the many kinds of pollution for which we keep on contributing. The trend of young women refusing to become mothers, because of the supposed end of the world, destined to come by the climate changes, is spreading altogether with the extinction of species caused by human interference, and silver lining is nowhere to be found.

Still, we’re stuck on this pale blue dot and it’s in our hands to keep it safe in every possible way. Maybe the cleanest cities in the word can give you some ideas on how to keep the environment safe and sound, without leaving the comfort of the modern era and the technological progress far behind.


The Pale Blue Dot, that we call Home

Since everything starts inside out, why don’t you take care of your home by giving us the chance to make it brightly clean. Our team of professionals knows what it takes to maintain your home spotless and we’re here to save you the hassle. Hiring us means simply choosing perfection in any possible way.

Trying to figure out which exactly are the world’s cleanest cities to live in isn’t exactly a piece of pie, since there’s so much controversial information out there. According to different sources, you may find London (for example) either holding the honourable gold medal, or landed somewhere between 2nd and 10th position or no where on this prestigious list at all.

You will certainly find numerous articles dedicated to this weighty and still prying theme but when we do something, we can be beyond pedantic. Our team is always aiming for perfection, plus we’re quite used to working only with established data (and proven quality materials but that’s a story for another day), that’s why first you should take some time to get to know our criteria, before learning which city in the whole world deserves to be the prize winner and titled as “The Cleanest and Greenest on (our beloved Planet) Earth”. So before we’re ready to grant such a prominence status, we’ve made this list.


London's Hidden Gardens

Meet the criteria

  • EPI (Environmental Performance Index)
  • AIR Pollution
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility
  • Forest Areas
  • Waste Disposal

The EPI

First of all, let us start with the EPI or the Environmental Performance Index. Each year for the last two decades, the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy at Yale University collides with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University and collaborates with the World Economic Forum in order to form this detailed list, aiming to provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.

EPI offers not only a snapshot of where countries stand today but also reflects important trends in environmental performance at both national and global levels.

According to this research, Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France and Denmark. The UK comes 6th right after Malta and Sweden. Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland and Finland form the complete top 10 when it comes to the 2018 EPI Ranking.

In case you are wondering, this is actually a huge step forward for the UK. In 2016 and in 2014 the Kingdom was ranked at 12th position. It is not the UK’s first appearance among the top ten thought, since the island held 9th place in 2012 and 5th in 2006.

According to this research, Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France and Denmark. The UK comes 6th right after Malta and Sweden. Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland and Finland form the complete top 10 when it comes to the 2018 EPI Ranking.

In case you are wondering, this is actually a huge step forward for the UK. In 2016 and in 2014 the Kingdom was ranked at 12th position. It is not the UK’s first appearance among the top ten thought, since the island held 9th place in 2012 and 5th in 2006.

However, many go to find peace and enlightenment in the now popular Asian destinations – Nepal and India – both of which at the bottom of the list, when it comes to clean environment (scored respectively 31.44 and 30.57 – from possible 100). They’re followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh and Burundi, which is staged last in this list with the score of 27,43.


The Whole World in a Single Drop of Rain

If you’re interested in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) summary, which ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories, covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality – you can read it .

The complete country profile of the United Kingdom may be read .

or you can download in PDF format (those 200 pages of information awaits you).

If this still is not enough, you can dig further and learn more at epi.envirocenter.yale.edu. The next EPI metrics will be released in early 2020, so yes – this is the most accurate and up to date information you may find anywhere in the depths of internet.

What is AIR made of?

No, we won’t talk about the exact chemical composition of the air we breathe but will focus instead on The 2018 Environmental Performance Index, which finds that air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health all around the world.

Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and lead — all are literally taking the breath from our bodies. And even when it doesn’t kill, air pollution shortens the average life by one year.


What is AIR made of?

Invisible airborne particles, known as particulates, are the most dangerous. They can be made of soot, sulphates, lead or black carbon. And the tinier they are, the deadlier they can be. Microscopic particulates with a diameter below 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) are absorbed directly into the brain, lungs and bloodstream, causing lung cancer, strokes, heart disease and diabetes. We’re talking not just about some random data but for tens of thousands of lives which are affected at the moment you’re reading.

Air pollution can also lower your I.Q. and increase the risk of dementia and miscarriage. And if you deliver a child – have in mind that 11,000 new cases of asthma are diagnosed every day or 4 million children in just one year, because of the polluted air.

According to WHO’s (World Health Organization) Global Ambient Air Quality Database, 97 per cent of cities in low and middle-income countries are nowhere near to the safety standards, which causes more than one death in every four cases. But if you think that Europe is safe, better check twice, because about half of all cities with a population over 100,000 people in high-income countries have issues with the air as well.

You can check The World's Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index to get accurate information at any time of the day.

When it comes to the UK – we might not be at the bottom alongside Turkey, Mexico and South Africa, but we’re not even in the top 20 either. Still, the air quality in London is considered to be satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. If you want us to be a bit more exact – London has an Air Quality Index (AQI) of average 21 and since this is a temporary value, let us give you at least cursory idea of the whole picture. The most polluted city is Bingöl in Turkey with index 895 (anything above 300 is considered to be Hazardous) and the cleanest air may be found in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland with an index of just 2.

Iceland, French Guiana and Kazakhstan are the countries with the cleanest air in the world and the UK is somewhere in the golden middle, because the average index is 65, which is slightly over the borders of the air qualified as Good and puts us in the Moderate table. In simple English, this may concern you only if you already have some respiratory diseases

Now let’s come back down to Earth

After so much said about the importance of the air we all breathe, the only logical thing is to say something about the Lungs of the Earth. You’ve probably already seen this famous caricature at least once

If the forest could speak

but have you ever wonder what exactly we are causing to the forests… Well, buckle up because what you are going to read in the next few lines may be depressing…

Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), an estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forests are lost each year.

This means 1.5 acres every second - the imaginable equivalent would be for a forest with a size of 27 soccer fields to be cut down every minute.

Tropical rainforests may cover only 6-7% of the earth’s surface, but they still contain over half of all the plant and animal species known in the world. Plus, they keep 121 natural remedies, that can be used as medicines, and produce 20% of the world’s oxygen – yeah, the same we can’t live without.

Just a few more figures - nearly 17% of the forest in the Amazon has been lost in the last 5 decades. Deforestation is expected to cause the extinction of up to 28,000 species in the next 25 years and if the current rate of it continues, in less than 100 years there will be no rainforests at all.


For the period between 1990 and 2016, 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometres or an area over five times larger than The UK) of forest disappeared, according to the World Bank.

Knowing that 80% of the world's land-based species live in forests you can imagine how many of them now exists only on the pictures in the biology books. If you take into account that forests have a leading role in climate changes, you will have a recipe for disaster by removing only one ingredient.

We’re glad to meet you with GLAD

The Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) laboratory is part of the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, which investigates methods, causes and impacts of global land surface change. At the first quarter of the year, GLAD introduced the resulting data of their Global Forest Watch project.

From 2001 to 2017, the United Kingdom lost 403kha of tree cover, equivalent to an 11% decrease, since the first day of the millennium.

Let’s look at the neighbours’ backyards:

The dorest areas in Ireland decreased with 13%, although it keeps on being pretty green, not only because it is located on the other sight of the fence. Germany lost 4,7%, France 5.9% and Spain 9,4%, Sweden and Norway lost 14% each, while in the Balkans the average rate is around 5%.

On the other hand, Portuguese lost 893ha of its tree cover - an equivalent to a 39% decrease since 2000, which makes Portugal the most scathing country in Europe. Long story short – we stand in the middle again as you can see.


The Earth's Green Lungs

According to The Trillion Tree Campaign (which is an awesome initiative because of its competitive nature, that you should check) for the last 5 years only 12,492,738 trees were planted in the UK. Italy, for example, can brag with 211,230,933, so some extra push might be needed if we want to see London greener?

In case you wonder, Greater London takes the 5th place (23% green space) in the list with the Greenest cities in the Kingdom, losing the upper position to Birmingham (24.6%) with just an inch before the final.

The top 3 looks like this – Edinburgh (49,2%), Glasgow (32%), Bristol (29%).

Water - The Blue Gold we unworthy underestimate

You’ve probably heard at least once, that the wars of the future won’t be for fuel but for water instead, and when we dig up some facts, this hypothesis has started to make more and more sense.

According to WHO by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Meanwhile, nowadays:

  • In the least developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service and 21% have no sanitary services.

  • 1 in 9 people or 844 million people lack access to safe water and 2.3 billion people or 1 in 3 lack access to a toilet.

  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source, contaminated with faeces, which can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.

  • Contaminated drinking water on average causes 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths alone in the course of a year.

  • We need to add one more digit for the next one - 1 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.

  • Every 2 minutes a child dies from a water-related disease.

Faith, destiny, chance, karma – whatever the reason – we don’t need pedantically ordered table to show us (and by us we mean the whole of Europe at least) on top when it comes to Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility.

Needless to say that we are among the happy few who live in areas where safe drinking water is available for everyone.

Still, most of us prefer the one in plastic bottles, though, and our morning routine probably takes more water than the one used by a whole village in a day.

It’s about time pollution to come under Fire

We all know that pollution is among the biggest problems of the modern age but there’s more. Although lack of clean water and deforestation are literally killing us, pollution is the largest environmental cause of diseases and premature death in the world we live in. In 2015 – 16% of all premature deaths worldwide were because of the pollution alone. 9 million lives were lost due to our incapability to handle things like the waste we produce ourselves.

To get the picture straight – pollution causes 3 times more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and its victims are 15 times more than the ones lost in all the wars led by humanity, plus, the casualty of any other forms of violence on Earth.

In the countries, which are the most affected by the pollution crisis, the latter is the one to blame for one out of four deaths.

Things are not brighter for the rest of the world either – according to WHO about 90% of the world population or 9 out of 10 people are exposed to dangerous levels of pollution.


The Plastic Pollution keeps on Spreading

The plastic alone is already much beyond a big deal

In 1950 the world used to produce about 2 million tonnes of plastic per year. By 2015, annual production had increased dozens and dozens of times, reaching 381 million tonnes or in other words - beyond 50 million kilograms of plastic for each person alive. And this material is to blame for such a huge part of the particulate matter (PM) – the mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that get into the air, which are so easy but yet deadly to inhale.

The latest global air pollution database made by WHO measured that the levels of PM 2.5 ( the fine particulate matter) are the highest in Kanpur – 173 micrograms per cubic metre. The top 14 most polluted cities are all located in one country in South Asia – India – and the level of PM 2.5 is beyond 100 in each of them. The next in line is Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait, where the PM 2.5 level is 94. The cases of cancer and cardiovascular diseases shoot for the sky and the air we literally can’t live without, leads to millions of deadly pulmonary diseases.

It may seem far away but don’t forget about the “killer fog” in London in 1952, which has caused 12,000 unexplained deaths and severe long-term effects on human health.

Still, the world seems to take notice and nowadays more and more countries have banned single use plastic altogether. The EU waste policy aims to establish a circular economy, where materials and resources are maintained as long as possible and the disposal of waste is the last possible option.

Reuse for Proper Waste Management

Why should an item go straight for disposal, instead of being reused? Passing on the latter option seems like a waste of good resources, when you consider the many renewable materials that can be used for the manufacturing of goods and other products.

Over 50% of all domestically generated waste on the continent has been recycled with the UK almost on top with 59% (the same percentage as Denmark). Belgium leads the way with 78% followed by Slovenia – 75%, Netherlands – 72%, Italy – 67%, Austria and Luxembourg with 62%, Latvia – 61%, and the Czech Republic and Poland – 60%.

Greece, Bulgaria and Malta stay on the bottom with 10%, 17% and 19% respectively.

Now let’s focus on the UK alone for a moment.

Unfortunately, London has the lowest rate when it comes to recycling among the nine government office regions with an estimated 32% of the generated waste being recycled. Eastern England is in the lead with almost 46%, followed by East Midlands, South West and West Midlands where the recycling rate is slightly above 43%. Yorkshire and Humber come 5th with 40%, the South East is next in line with 38% and just one step ahead of London is North East with 35.5%.


Keep Calm & Recycle On

Incineration and energy recovery are another way to manage the waste we’re producing by taking some advantage of it.

With 42% Finland is on top in the chart regarding the incineration of domestically generated waste, followed by Sweden – 40% and Denmark with 36%.

Bulgaria and Greece again stay at the bottom with only 1% each, Malta and Croatia are just a bit better with 2%.


Although it’s the oldest form of disposal, Landfill waste represents an enormous loss of resources in the form of both materials and energy. In addition, landfills are among the biggest contributors to soil pollution worldwide, that’s why we should limit this practice as much as possible. In Bulgaria the figure is 82% which puits the country on the bottom right next to Greece with 81% and Estonia with 77%. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, only 2% of the generated waste is landfilled, followed by 3% in Belgium and 4% in Denmark.


Since we obviously can’t stop to produce waste, especially with the world population rising every minute, the least we can do is to try to reduce it as much as possible and maximize recycling and re-usage, otherwise we’re getting one step closer to the edge each year and the time is ticking away.


And since everything starts inside out, why don’t you take care of your home by giving us the chance to make it brightly clean. Our team of professionals knows what it takes to maintain your home spotless and we’re here to save you the hassle. Choosing us means simply choosing perfection in any possible way.


Clean & Green

Categories: Marketing, Business Tags: #London, #Croydon

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