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Australia has the cleanest air in the world, as the country with the most cities with fresh air

Down Under is the place to be for breathing in the freshest air, with six of our major cities having a perfect track record

Melissa Woodley
Liv Condous
Written by
Melissa Woodley
Liv Condous

There are few things better in life than taking in a big, deep breath of fresh air. Luckily for us Aussies, crystal clear air isn't hard to find, as proven in a new global analysis that found heaps of our cities have the cleanest and freshest air in the world. How good. 

The report by HouseFresh found that six out of the nine cities experiencing 365 ‘good air days’ a year were in Australia, with Perth claiming the second-top spot worldwide. Among the other top Aussie cities with crisp fresh air were Wollongong in fourth place, Sydney in fifth, Newcastle in seventh, Adelaide in eighth and Canberra in tenth. Melbourne didn't fare as well, coming in at number 26 on the list with only 353 good air days. It's fair enough that we can't excel at everything though, after we've already recently been declared as the world's third most liveable city and the friendliest city in the world. But overall, Australia absolutely dominated the top ten cities for good air days, making us the country to be in for breathing sweet, fresh air. 

HouseFresh compiled the global rankings by analysing pollution data from the World Air Quality Index. They defined a ‘good air day’ as one with low levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in the atmosphere, while days with high levels of PM 2.5 were categorised as ‘bad air days’. 

Joining the top ten cities with the most ‘good air days’ was gold-medallist Zürich, Switzerland, along with Reykjavík, Iceland in third place. Only one city in the US can claim to have ‘good air days’ year-round, and that was Honolulu, Hawaii in the sixth spot.

Towards the murkier end of the spectrum, four of India’s major cities experience one day or less of ‘good air’ each year. These findings are somewhat alarming considering that poor air quality from particulate matter is the sixth leading cause of global excess deaths annually, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. That’s one in five excess deaths each year, according to another study from Harvard University.

If you’re on the lookout for your next travel destination, then you might want to check out the full rankings here

Here are the top rankings of ‘good air days’ in Australian cities:

  1. Perth: 365 days
  2. Wollongong: 365
  3. Sydney: 365
  4. Newcastle: 365
  5. Adelaide: 365
  6. Canberra: 364
  7. Brisbane: 362
  8. Hobart: 360
  9. Launceston: 353
  10. Melbourne: 353
  11. Darwin: 297


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