What do you presume when you hear the word clean? A spiffy and neat place, pretty much but what about the place we live in, the grass we walk on, the air we breathe in that also needs to be clean now doesn’t it? That is why when we talk about the top 20 cleanest cities in the world 2020 we do not just emphasize on the fact that there is no litter on the sidewalks although that is a part of it for the environment to be considered clean and specially for a city to be clean there comes into account a ton of factors such as a recycle system a proper drainage and sewage system as well as ways to keep harmful gases such as CO2 out of the air so let’s see which cities have done a lot of hard work with this regard.
20. Chicago, Illinois
If you have ever heard of this windy city in America then you are probably wondering how did it get on this list but with a population of 2,719,000 people and 234 square miles the urban metropolitan city is working on making the city cleaner but specially in terms of its air because with so much human activity urban areas like these face a problem of what is known as UHI (urban heat island effect) what this basically means is that the city faces more heat and warmth as compared to its surrounding cities because of a huge amount of human activity, with this said the city people planted over 2 million square feet of roof top gardens all over the city this is more than all the roof top gardens found all over America. So what’s so cool about these rooftop gardens? They have plenty of environment friendly benefits including reducing the “heat island effect”, reducing smog, improving air quality, reducing carbon monoxide impact and so much more.
19. Birmingham, England
A city on Europe with some of the highest environmental targets in Europe it aims to reduce carbon emissions by 60 % by the year 2027, with heavy industries working around, 1,092,330 population and 103,39 square miles it is still ranked one of the cleanest cities in Europe several times. Street cleaners work 24 hours cleaning about 1300 miles of road everyday and cleaning out 4000 litter bins daily.
18. Copenhagen, Denmark
In 2014 this city was voted as “Europe’s Green capital by the European Environment Commission”. The city harbors 579,513 people on a 3328 square miles land. It provides cleanliness not only by keeping its surroundings clean but it has a vessel of places with greenery and open spaces for breathing fresh air. The water that is provided in Copenhagen wherever you drink from will be the cleanest water to drink or to swim in. The infrastructure consists largely of bicycles as it used as the main way of transportation along with a tram system but not only is cycling used a side activity 37% of people of this city use bicycles to go to and from work and school and only 29 % of the people own a car. No wonder Danes look so healthy! Along with traveling and drinking right this city also eats right with 75 % of food that is being consumed being totally organic no wonder it got a spot on the list. Go Copenhagen!
17. Bogota, Colombia
Recently Bogota participated and was the host of the United Nations conference related to sustainable development in August and why was this capital chosen? It was no coincidence it was because of its immense work on sustainable development for its city through recent years. Home to about 8 million people and 613 square miles this city takes the noise and air pollution of cars seriously where a lot of investment has been made on how to help the people maintain a healthy living and a cost efficient way of transport. For this purpose it is home to an extremely efficient transport system such as the hybrid Transmilenio also including the “BIOTAXIS Project” where electric taxi cabs were released in 2013 to cut down the use of other vehicles emitting strong petroleum pollutants, along with a bikeway infrastructure that has been claimed to be one of the most extensive ones in the world, the bicycle riding is promoted throughout the city by a project called “Ciclovia” which closes the highways for a specific time and encourages the people of Bogota to get on their bikes pedal their way through the city to enjoy and for exercise as well.
16. Tokyo, Japan
Here is a city that ingrains cleanliness at a very young age so that it is rooted in-depth into young ones minds. The education system includes keeping children behind to clean their schools so that they know at a young age to keep their city and schools clean. Much of the population smokes but still you won’t find a cigarette bud on the street as smokers keep the ashes in a portable ash tray that they carry around with themselves so that there is no ash or bud on the ground. In addition to this the sky is crystal clear and 75 % of people take the subway wherever they need to go not only saving money but keeping the petroleum fuels out of sight.
15. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is home to 383,708 million people as well as 33.93 square miles. This city accommodates an eco friendly waste disposal system, sustainable energy and incentives for people being and keeping the city clean. A recycle system that includes recycling of glass, metal and textiles and there are over 300 location points within Zurich to recycle such materials as well recycling of paper and cardboard free of charge, coupled with transport system that not only includes tram, bus and train services but also boat services that contributes to keeping the pollution level low.
14. Austin, Texas
A city with 885,400 populations, this city is set on making renewable energy to meet the city’s energy demands for up to 20 % by the year 2020. This city is known as the “clean air city” with strict rules for smoking and over 32 miles of bicycle trails to promote clean air and no pollution. In 2012 this city was one of the few ones who took a step and banned the use of plastic bags.
13. Vienna, Austria
It seems like Europe has set the bar high with so many clean cities here is another one that has pure clean water wherever you go straight from the mountains. Vienna is claimed to be a livable city partially because of its safety and cleanliness you can go for a walk after midnight won’t see litter anywhere and won’t be afraid of the shadow behind you. Here is city where you not only drink clean water but can swim in it too and for nothing at all because the cost is free. With a population of 1,800,000 this place is filled with greenery and fresh air with numerous activities such as opera, museum, parks and lots more it has been ranked 4 th place in the international quality of life living survey by the “Mercer’s overall quality of life survey” .
12. Freiburg, Germany
This city of Germany promotes sustainability in a few sectors including governance administration, climate and resources, mobility and infrastructure, economy and labor, education and integration, quality of life and urban structure. Over 400 installations have been made around the city for solar panels both in public and private buildings however along with solar energy Freiburg uses a ton of other renewable energy like hydropower, wind power and biomass. To reduce vehicle pollution a trend known as “car sharing” is also commonly used as most of the people in Freiburg don’t even own a car rather only use it when necessary and then often go for car sharing. Energy saving policies are so much emphasized that building design standards require buildings to be built and use no more than 65 kilowatt-hours of heating energy per square meter as compared to the national standard of 75kWh/meter square/yr.
11. Wellington, New Zealand
This city is known as the cultural capital of New Zealand with vast national archives and a national art gallery and a national library. New Zealand has dedicated almost 30% to open spaces and parks and this city is no different you will find greenery surrounding you all over its 171 square miles along with amazing waste management systems, energy consumptions systems and fresh air that will want you wanting more
10. Santa Fe, New Mexico
This little city keeps its air emission free with rules and regulations and keeps the city away from any manufacturing going on nearby that is why it was accredited having the cleanest quality of air as recognized by the American Lung association. Besides strict laws the people also contribute by taking trash and turning it into pieces of art and having regular trash pick up days to keep the streets clean and spiffy. This is at 10th in the list of cleanest cities in the world 2020
9. Adelaide, Australia
Capital of South Australia and the 5 th largest city in Australia home to 1,291,666 people, the city works hard on its living standards and eco friendly environment. In recent years one of the big works toward cleanliness has been the legislation sector put forth to reduce the number of landfills in the city. It has an outstanding recycling system that works towards 85 % of the city’s waste.
Talk about “Virtual Singapore” the government of the “lion city” has very strict policies and rules when it comes to cleanliness or littering on the streets or even smoking in a no smoking zone. With cameras installed everywhere and more to be installed you will have to pay a very hefty fine if you are found littering. From fines on chewing gum, spitting on the streets to not flushing a public toilet this city has kept its streets clean by showing people that rules are to be followed not broken.
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
A city with 68.4 square miles and 390,738 population, this city is major tourist attraction in North America although people know it by its “volcanic smog’s” but still it is listed as one of the clean kept cities this is partly due to the people and government of Honolulu as well as its geography the Pacific winds blow in and out and keep the beaches clean as well as keep gas emissions at a low rate coupled with regular rainfall and weekly cleanup programs by the people in the area not to mention very few industries bringing in pollution.
6. Helsinki, Finland
Green carpeted roads, lush mountain tops, this place is home to 614,074 people and this Scandinavian city was once the 3 rd cleanest city in the world in 2014. Popular as the “pocket sized metropolis” it offers a wide range of sights for tourists but accompanied with fun it also provides safety as it is has the lowest corruption rate in the world. the water that is supplied to this city through the Päijänne Water Tunnel is of such great quality so much that the same water is imported to parts of the world as well just because of its potable nature not to mention the only city in Finland to have a metro system.
5. Oslo, Norway
Hub of the Norwegian trade, industry and shopping, it is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world however in such a bustling city it still is one of the cleanest. This uses the latest technology to reduce gas emissions and reserve energy; it has invested in a network of smart streetlights which has decreased the energy consumption by two thirds. With a very extensive transport system it also claims to ban private vehicles by the end of the decade. Its transport system also includes a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network. Not only does this city care about its pollution but it also cares about its citizens by installing a sensor network that is for the elderly as it helps them with their care, with strict policies and smart use of technology this city is aiming for the gold.
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
With 58.4 square miles of area and a population of 382,578 this city in the USA has got it all not only does it improve living standards by keeping the air clean, water quality pure and the streets dirt free with dumping litter just any where as an offense “illegal dumping” and walls with graffiti cleaned up in 24 hours the people here are considered to be the healthiest 87 % of the residents regularly indulge in physical exercise and only 17 % smoke! Besides this city has provided healthcare throughout its city as annual checkups and screenings are hosted all over the place free of cost and only 11 % of the people are uninsured.
3. Kobe, Japan
Let’s see where to start? The city has separated its drainage system completely from its sewage system so that even rainfall doesn’t contaminate waste management. Transport includes subways, buses, high speed trains, taxis and ferries and does not stop there even for the high and hard to reach areas there are several aerial lifts and funiculars that are affordable. Trash is collected on very specific days and there are rules on how to keep your trash separated like washing Styrofoam before putting it into the trash bin and making sure that gas is taken out of the bottles completely otherwise no matter how much you want your trash is not going to be taken out. Water is strictly followed by the WHO guidelines on how to be potable and most important the children and adults are taught from a very young age on how to keep their places clean and own up to cleanliness.
2. Ifrane, Morocco
What better place to enjoy the snow in a place where there are no industries around? No industrial action is what contributes to fresh clean air and if that is what you want then that is what you get in this beautiful place where the winters are carpeted with white snow and summers are also cold and cool, its ski resort is the main attraction for people around the world often referred to as “Morocco’s Switzerland” this beautiful place is kept clean and industry free so that you can enjoy every breath you take.
1. Calgary, Canada
Not the first but the fifth time it has been awarded the cleanest city in the world. The people and government have gone to great lengths to keep this status of cleanliness by providing 75% of energy through renewable energy sources and 100 liters of water per day through a central water purifier in the city. The city has numerous recycling programs such as “Too Good to Waste” and “Blue Cart system” aimed to recycle every sort of material including asphalt, shingles and concrete. This city has set its stakes high in the oil and gas industry, low unemployment rate and high GDP per capita.