×

Environment > SO2 emissions per populated area: Countries Compared

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

Author: Ian Graham, Staff Editor

One of Hawaii’s most popular tourist attractions, Kilauea volcano is also the state’s worst air polluter and the United States’ largest producer of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Since it began erupting in 1983, Kilauea has sent an average of 1,000 metric tons of SO2 into the atmosphere everyday, according to the Hawaii chapter of the American Lung Association, more than 6,000 times as much as a major industrial polluter.

When the SO2 reacts with other chemicals in the air, it creates a hazy pollution known locally as “vog,” short for volcanic smog. Press reports about vog first showed up in the 1950s, and mentioned eye irritation and allergy-like symptoms. But Big Island residents have long believed that vog is hazardous to health, and by the mid-1980s, Hawaii had the highest asthma death rate in the U.S., according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

In 1996, a comparison between Big Island emergency visits and vog levels between 1981 and 1991 found that people in high vog exposure areas sought treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease more often when vog levels were high. The U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service have developed a sulfur dioxide monitoring and advisory plan to alert visitors and workers near the Kilauea caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The American Lung Association recommends that people stay indoors during periods of heavy vog.

DEFINITION: SO2 emissions per populated land area
Units: 1000 Metric Tons/Sq. Km. of Populated Land Area
Units: We obtained the total emissions for each country by summarizing emissions data, originally available as a grid map with 1 degree x 1 degree cells. Air pollution is generally greatest in densely populated areas. To take this into account, we used the Gridded Population of the World dataset available from CIESIN and calculated the total land area in each country inhabited with a population density of greater than 5 persons per sq. km. We then used this land area as a denominator for the emissions data.

CONTENTS

# COUNTRY AMOUNT DATE GRAPH
1 Belgium 21,390 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
2 South Korea 19,430 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
3 Jamaica 17,050 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
4 Czech Republic 7,980 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
5 North Korea 7,640 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
6 Kuwait 7,120 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
7 United Kingdom 5,370 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
8 Germany 5,100 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
9 Slovakia 4,850 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
10 Bulgaria 4,610 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
11 Chile 4,380 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
12 Netherlands 4,190 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
13 Egypt 4,090 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
14 Poland 3,900 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
High income OECD countries average (profile) 3,616 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
European Union average (profile) 3,354.4 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Eurozone average (profile) 3,341.33 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
15 Israel 3,310 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
NATO countries average (profile) 3,274.62 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
16 Libya 3,220 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
17 Denmark 2,860 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
18 Australia 2,840 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Group of 7 countries (G7) average (profile) 2,827.14 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=19 Canada 2,790 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=19 Italy 2,790 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
21 Jordan 2,710 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
22 China 2,680 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Cold countries average (profile) 2,672.16 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
23 Hungary 2,650 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
24 Tajikistan 2,610 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
25 South Africa 2,350 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
26 Slovenia 2,340 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
27 Armenia 2,290 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Non-religious countries average (profile) 2,229.17 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
28 Zambia 2,100 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
29 Sierra Leone 2,080 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
30 Ukraine 2,060 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
31 Romania 2,040 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
32 Croatia 1,870 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Middle Eastern and North Africa average (profile) 1,846.67 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
33 Greece 1,830 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
34 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,780 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
35 Cuba 1,730 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
36 Lithuania 1,690 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=37 Azerbaijan 1,680 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=37 United States 1,680 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
39 Moldova 1,650 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
40 Tunisia 1,610 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
41 Malaysia 1,600 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
42 United Arab Emirates 1,520 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
OPEC countries average (profile) 1,501 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
43 Finland 1,480 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Emerging markets average (profile) 1,472.8 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
44 Botswana 1,320 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
45 Spain 1,310 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Former Soviet republics average (profile) 1,172.86 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
46 Portugal 1,170 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
47 India 1,150 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
48 France 1,090 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
49 Thailand 1,070 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Muslim countries average (profile) 999.21 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=50 Ireland 970 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=50 Mexico 970 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=50 Japan 970 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
53 Iceland 960 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
54 Belarus 950 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
55 Russia 930 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
56 Republic of Macedonia 900 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
57 Philippines 880 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
58 Namibia 870 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
59 Austria 850 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=60 Uzbekistan 770 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=60 Sweden 770 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
62 Syria 710 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
63 El Salvador 700 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
64 Bangladesh 690 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Former Spanish colonies average (profile) 655.56 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
65 Turkey 650 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
66 Dominica 640 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
South and Central Asia average (profile) 621.82 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=67 Lebanon 600 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=67 Albania 600 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
69 Venezuela 590 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=70 Estonia 580 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=70 Iraq 580 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=70 Kazakhstan 580 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
73 Saudi Arabia 560 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
South Asia average (profile) 542.5 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
74 Algeria 540 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
75 Morocco 530 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
76 Trinidad and Tobago 520 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
77 Switzerland 510 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=78 Rwanda 490 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=78 Iran 490 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
80 Peru 450 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
81 New Zealand 440 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
82 Mongolia 430 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
83 Costa Rica 380 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=84 Indonesia 360 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=84 Brazil 360 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=86 Norway 350 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=86 Ecuador 350 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
88 Zimbabwe 330 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
89 Pakistan 300 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
90 Central African Republic 290 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
91 Kyrgyzstan 270 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
Former French colonies average (profile) 270 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
92 Vietnam 260 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
93 Colombia 240 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
94 Panama 230 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
95 Sri Lanka 210 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
failed states average (profile) 207.69 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=96 Cote d'Ivoire 200 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=96 Angola 200 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=98 Nigeria 190 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=98 Guinea-Bissau 190 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=100 Turkmenistan 180 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=100 Mauritania 180 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=100 Cambodia 180 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=100 Latvia 180 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=104 Ghana 170 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=104 Uruguay 170 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=106 Guatemala 160 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=106 Kenya 160 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=106 Uganda 160 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=109 Senegal 150 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=109 Argentina 150 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=109 Honduras 150 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=112 Benin 140 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=112 Haiti 140 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=112 Democratic Republic of the Congo 140 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=115 Mozambique 130 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=115 Burundi 130 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
117 Nicaragua 120 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 Liberia 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 Sudan 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 The Gambia 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 Oman 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 Gabon 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=118 Laos 110 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=124 Tanzania 100 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=124 Chad 100 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=126 Niger 90 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=126 Burma 90 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=128 Cameroon 80 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=128 Burkina Faso 80 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=128 Paraguay 80 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=131 Ethiopia 70 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=131 Guinea 70 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=131 Bolivia 70 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=131 Togo 70 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=131 Mali 70 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
136 Somalia 60 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=137 Malawi 50 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=137 Nepal 50 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=139 Madagascar 40 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
=139 Papua New Guinea 40 thousand metric tons/squ 2000
141 Bhutan 30 thousand metric tons/squ 2000

Citation

"Countries Compared by Environment > SO2 emissions per populated area. International Statistics at NationMaster.com", Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, Data Version 1.1, B1Illustrative Marker Scenario with model IMAGE. Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Environment/SO2-emissions-per-populated-area

Environment > SO2 emissions per populated area: Countries Compared Map

NationMaster

Interesting observations about Environment > SO2 emissions per populated area

  • Belgium ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Christian countries in 2000.
  • Jamaica ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Hot countries in 2000.
  • Kuwait ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Muslim countries in 2000.
  • Bulgaria ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Emerging markets in 2000.
  • South Africa ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Sub-Saharan Africa in 2000.
  • South Korea ranked second for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst High income OECD countries in 2000.
  • United Kingdom ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Group of 7 countries (G7) in 2000.
  • Czech Republic ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Landlocked countries in 2000.
  • Iraq ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Failed states in 2000.
  • Chile ranked first for SO2 emissions per populated area amongst Former Spanish colonies in 2000.

0

One of Hawaii’s most popular tourist attractions, Kilauea volcano is also the state’s worst air polluter and the United States’ largest producer of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Since it began erupting in 1983, Kilauea has sent an average of 1,000 metric tons of SO2 into the atmosphere everyday, according to the Hawaii chapter of the American Lung Association, more than 6,000 times as much as a major industrial polluter.

When the SO2 reacts with other chemicals in the air, it creates a hazy pollution known locally as “vog,” short for volcanic smog. Press reports about vog first showed up in the 1950s, and mentioned eye irritation and allergy-like symptoms. But Big Island residents have long believed that vog is hazardous to health, and by the mid-1980s, Hawaii had the highest asthma death rate in the U.S., according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

In 1996, a comparison between Big Island emergency visits and vog levels between 1981 and 1991 found that people in high vog exposure areas sought treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease more often when vog levels were high. The U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service have developed a sulfur dioxide monitoring and advisory plan to alert visitors and workers near the Kilauea caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The American Lung Association recommends that people stay indoors during periods of heavy vog.

Posted on 18 May 2005

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

Follow us on Facebook to get interesting stats: