Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been named the most “toxic” nations on Earth. This according to a recent report by The Eco Experts, a renewable energy firm, which obtained data from the International Energy Agency and World Health Organization (WHO).
The Middle East didn't do well in general. Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Libya followed Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In this respect, Arab countries dominated the "toxic" nations list.
The new report gathers and compiles data from 135 countries. Its based on five environmental factors: Energy consumption per capita, CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, air pollution levels, deaths attributable to air pollution, and renewable energy production, The Independent reported.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest oil producers
Currently, less than 1 percent of Saudi Arabia's energy is renewable. The kingdom's economy relies primarily on oil production.
However, the kingdom plans to become a "solar powerhouse" and invest tens of billions in renewable energy sources.
Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih announced last month that Riyadh will invest between $30 to $50 billion in renewable energy by 2032.
Renewable energy initiatives are an integral part of the kingdom's Vision 2030, the national transformation plan championed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. The ambitious plan aims to reduce the kingdom's reliance on oil and diversify the economy.
The UAE is making the shift to renewables too
In 2015, the UAE was said to have the worst air in the world, according to a report released by the World Bank.
However, the United Arab Emirates may now exceed its conservative target of producing 24 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2021.
Additionally, the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation is on the fast track to becoming the Arab world’s first nuclear power producing country as part of a new investment in renewable energy projects.
It's investing $163bn in clean energy projects to ensure that half of the country’s power needs are generated from renewable sources by 2050.
The least toxic nations are mostly in Africa
Kenya was named the world’s least toxic country, topping the list. It was followed by Mozambique, and Ethiopia.
Although the study did not take water pollution into account, which is real problem in Africa, it focused on air quality. In the case of these nations, lack of industrialization has led to less polluted air.