The world is struggling with pollution, dirt, poor air quality, carbon emission and global warming. Glaciers are melting, seas are encroaching land and the population of several species are depleting. Various governments across the world are working at different levels to fight the problem of pollution and promote waste management techniques. Carbon emission is another key problem that the world is battling with and this is the reason that the developed countries, as well as the developing countries, are moving towards electric vehicles from petrol and diesel vehicles. Due to all these problems, having completely clean and pollution-free cities is a dream for many countries.
While it is rare to have cities with extremely clean air when development is the priority, there are some cities that have managed to co-exist with nature and keep their environment clean. This blog features 8 such cities where you can breathe in extremely clean oxygen and walk on dirt-free roads if you get citizenship from anyone of them.
- Calgary, Canada: It is a shock to find Calgary on the list as it is one of the largest cities of Alberta in terms of population and also a leading oil and gas hub in Canada. Oil, gas and cleanliness are not the terms that fall on the same line. What is amazing is that the city’s authorities have managed to keep pollution, dirt and mess at bay despite rapid development activities. The city is dotted with several skyscrapers and big hotels. The city’s authorities have started a green initiative and there’s a lot of emphasis on planting trees. Heavy fines are imposed on those found littering. A lot of emphases is given to recycling and almost 80 per cent of the landfill has been recycled.
- Wellington, New Zealand: The people and the government in New Zealand are equally aware of the need to protect the environment and keep the surroundings clean. This reflects in the development approach followed across the country. Wellington is one of the highly populated cities in New Zealand but the residents and local authorities have kept the city very clean and tidy despite the continuous development activities. Nearly a third of the city’s population uses public transport and this has enabled them in keeping air pollution levels really low. This is why the air in Wellington is very clean. The local management works every day for waste management and cutting carbon emissions.
- Sapporo, Japan: Looking at the history, Japan has had very less time to write its fate riding on economic and industrial development in comparison to the western world. Despite all this, the coordination between the citizens and the government and general awareness about cleanliness has helped the country in keeping its cities clean and air pollution-free. Sapporo in Japan is an inspiration for governments across the world as it has managed to keep its green cover unharmed despite being densely populated. The citizens are taught about the importance of cleanliness right from the school and thus they grow up with keeping their surroundings clean as an inherited trait. Sapporo has one of the clearest skies in the world.
- Stockholm, Sweden: It is not only the development and the standard of living that attracts people towards the west. It is also the civilised society that works in sync with the authorities to keep the land, air and water bodies clean. Stockholm, the capital and the biggest country of Sweden is the first city to be named as the Green Capital of Europe in 2010. It was almost a decade ago that the city achieved the standards of cleanliness that are still a dream for many cities. It has been able to reduce the carbon emission levels by 25 per cent and people prefer cycles over bikes and cars to prevent air and noise pollution. It is expected to become completely fossil-fuel free by 2050 by bolstering waste management efforts.
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- Hamburg, Germany: Germany learned the art of development decades before any other western country but it soon realised that cleanliness and a clean environment are equally important for better living standards. Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany and despite being economically empowered, cycling is one of the most popular ways among commuters. The public transport connectivity is excellent and that has helped the authorities in restricting the presence of private vehicles on the roads. This has helped the city in curbing the carbon emissions to a great extent. Littering and spreading waste in public areas is very uncommon and punishable. The city aspires to become car-free in 20 years and reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
- Helsinki, Finland: Just like Sweden, Finland has done exceptionally well in keeping a check on carbon emission levels and employing waste management strategies on a large scale. Helsinki is the capital of Finland and a popular tourist destination. Most of the tourists come here just to understand the waste management architecture here. Just like air and land, the water here is so clean that even tap water is drinkable. Most of the locals have replaced their cars with cycles and that has been very helpful in cutting the carbon emission. The city has separate lanes for cyclists and the government may ban sale and use of motor vehicles by 2025.
- Singapore City, Singapore: Singapore is an inspiration for the entire world and Asia in particular. Despite having a limited area, the city has managed to undergo impressive development without harming the environmental balance. From being one of the dirtiest cities a few decades ago, the city has become one of the cleanest. The impressive turnaround has been possible due to a proactive government that has promoted public transport use and levies heavy taxes on car owners to cut carbon emissions significantly.
- Copenhagen, Denmark: Another Nordic country makes it to the list and this one is right at the top. The way Nordic countries have responded to climate change is not only impressive but a case study. Copenhagen has the best air quality in the world and the government aims to make it carbon neutral by 2025. The government authorities work tirelessly towards waste management and recycling. Littering at public places is punishable by law. The green cover in the city is also being increased by the government.