Global air and water quality satisfaction by region 2017

This statistic shows the percentage of respondents who were satisfied with the quality of the air and water in their respective local areas in 2017. The statistic also provides a global average. In 2017, 77 percent of respondents around the world were satisfied with the quality of the air in their local area and 70 percent were satisfied with the quality of the water.

Air pollution in China

Globally, about 77 percent of people reported being satisfied with the air quality in the city they live in. About 89 percent of those living in South Asia are satisfied with air quality. Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Singapore are home to the cities with the highest satisfaction level in the world regarding clean air. However, criticism of China’s air quality and pollution problems has gained more attention on a global scale.

As the 2015 winter began, many citizens in China started to burn coal to heat their homes, which has led to record-breaking smog levels. In Shenyang, PM2.5 levels were reported to be over 1,400 micrograms per cubic meter, over 50 times the levels that the World Health Organization considers safe. PM2.5 refers to fine atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, which can adversely impact human health and climate. In 2013, particulate matter concentrations (PM10) in Shijiazhuang reached 154 micrograms per cubic meters; 40 micrograms per cubic meter is considered to be a safe level. Pollution in northeastern China is a growing problem due to the country's substantial industrial sector, including coal mining.

The Chinese government has been blamed for its inexperience in dealing with pollution and in 2014, reported that only eight of the country’s 74 largest cities have passed basic air quality standards. China has gradually increased investments in countering pollution as it becomes a more controversial issue. In 2006, China spent 256.6 billion yuan on counter-initiatives and has increased investments to 954 billion yuan by 2017, which accounted for 1.15 percent of China’s GDP.

In the city where you live, are you satisfied with the quality of the air/water?

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Release date

October 2018



Survey time period


Number of respondents

about 1,000 adults in each country

Age group

15 years and older

Method of interview

Face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews

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