Cleanest Cities in The World: The 16 Most Inspirational

The world is a wonderful place, and we should all do our part to keep it that way. There are several ways to do so, and no matter what you do, you’re making a difference! If you’re looking for ways to make an impact, here are the cleanest cities in the world that can offer inspiration. 

Cleanest Cities in The World

1. Calgary, Canada

Calgary, the provincial capital of Alberta and the country’s oil capital, is also one of the cleanest cities globally. On the 2014 Mercer list of clean cities, the city was placed number one overall. 

Calgary Canada

People in Calgary face penalties for dumping cigarette butts or hurling rubbish out of automobile windows. Alberta’s green effort, or, Too Good to Garbage, launched in 2007, is a program to reduce waste sent to landfills. 

Calgary has its own environmental nonprofit, Green Calgary, which advocates for a more sustainable way of living. For instance, the group provides suggestions for packing a litter-free lunch. By 2025, Calgary hopes to achieve a 70% reduction in landfill waste.

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is often called one of the world’s greenest cities. The government has made investments to improve water quality and reduce air and water pollution. 

Copenhagen Denmark

The water around the harbor is so pure that people may swim without worrying about being polluted. In addition, the city has several measures in place to reduce littering, like good trash management and recycling activities. 

Residents have also supported the city’s environmental efforts. Buses are changing to electric buses, and the government is dedicating more cycling lanes. Also, one of their plans is to make the city carbon-neutral by 2025.

3. Singapore

The city imposed Draconian laws about many things, and since then, the city has made impressive efforts to improve its environment and tackle littering. Rather than a penal code, it is more like a set of framed rules to help citizens reduce their waste by 50% and 90% in this decade. The people sort their garbage, and they mostly reprocess recyclable items. 


Singapore has also put high taxes on automobile owners, discouraging many people from purchasing a vehicle. For instance, an automobile may be taxed at least at its fair market value. As a result, just approximately 15% of Singaporeans own cars, making it one of Asia’s most environmentally friendly cities. 

Singapore has established many projects over the last 50 years to assist with the city’s cleaning efforts, including the annual Tree Planting Day, the Keep Our Water Clean campaign, and the Keep the Toilet Clean campaign. In 1977, the government extensively cleaned the city’s rivers, which remained today. Now, the water is so clean that it fits human consumption.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu is the capital and largest city of the US state of Hawai’i. In 2014, Honolulu was named one of the most liveable cities in the US by The Economist and ranked 4th in worldwide survey ranking cities on sustainability, human development, safety, cost of living, and employment. The city has been recognized as a global city with strengths in tourism. Honolulu is also cited as one of the best places to retire overseas.

Honolulu Hawaii 1

Honolulu, the state capital of Hawaii, has very few businesses harmful to the environment. According to the American Lung Association’s 2018 State of Air report, Hawaii continues to have some of the most excellent air quality in the country. Honolulu has zero high ozone or high particle pollution and one of the lowest year-round particle levels. In 2018, Mercer gave Honolulu special recognition for its sanitation, ranking the city as one of the best in sewage infrastructure and waste removal.

5. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki residents are dedicated to environmental preservation and trash prevention. The government has devised a sophisticated and energy-efficient heating system that aids in reducing power use. They also made necessary environmental improvements to the city. Locals have embraced this idea by ditching their vehicles in favor of bicycles. There are over 2,400 kilometers of bike lanes. The city also intends to make owning a car obsolete by the middle of the decade.

Helsinki Finland

Despite being Finland’s largest city, Helsinki boasts some of the cleanest air in the world. The water is also so pure that you may drink directly from the faucet. By 2035, the city hopes to be carbon neutral. They have a clear strategy that includes methods for reducing energy use and increasing on-site renewable energy regeneration.

6. Brisbane, Australia

Despite being Australia’s third most populous city, Brisbane is one of the cleanest in the country. Various green areas, wildlife reserves, and parks have helped reduce pollution levels. Brisbane’s closeness to the water also contributes to lower pollution levels. 

Brisbane Australia

The Brisbane government has established several initiatives to keep the city clean and green. The upgraded public transportation infrastructure and the push to encourage more people to utilize public transportation have helped reduce congestion and pollution levels. Brisbane is also a welcoming place for the LGBT+ community.

7. Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg Germany

Germany’s second-largest city has taken significant measures to ensure a clean and beautiful environment. Hamburg has an outstanding bicycle infrastructure, which contributes to the city’s declining pollution levels, as there are more cyclists and fewer private automobiles on the streets. The Green Network, another idea that aims to eliminate cars from the city in two decades, is also pretty exciting. Additionally, the government seeks to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

8. Kobe, Japan

Japanese culture and work ethic are well-known worldwide, as are their discipline and sense of duty. Kobe is a city in Japan with 1.5 million people, located near Osaka. 

The city is relatively small, with one side bordered by the sea and the other by mountains, creating a magnificent juxtaposition of stunning views. The economy of Kobe is built on its extraordinarily developed industry, which is home to several world-famous trademarks in the domains of light and heavy industry. 

Kobe Japan

Another significant aspect of the city’s economy is that its port is one of the busiest in the region, indicating that the city’s trading industry is also performing well. Thus, there is no doubt why this is one of the cleanest cities in the world – it is developed, situated in a spectacular location surrounded by natural beauty, and its residents value and respect their surroundings.

9. Kathmandu, Nepal

It’s tough to overlook the Himalayas’ pride – Kathmandu ranks among the cleanest cities on the planet. Kathmandu, the capital of one of the world’s most fascinating countries on Earth – Nepal – is wide open to travelers, with tourism being the primary sector booming there.

Kathmandu Nepal

Another factor for Kathmandu’s inclusion on the list of the cleanest cities in the world is the absence of major industries emitting pollution. Kathmandu is a reasonably clean city with low pollution and traffic congestion levels. This makes the city easy to live in, peaceful, and relaxing.

10. Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is the capital of the south island of New Zealand,  with a population of about 400,000+. The city has a lot of green areas and clean streets. The public transport system is also good with buses running on time. It has been on the list of one of the most beautiful cities globally.

Wellington New Zealand 1

According to Lonely Planet, Wellington is one of the most liveable cities due to its minimal air pollution and high-quality water supply. The residents there feel utmost security when strolling home, especially at night. Wellington’s population density creates a small-town feel with plenty of green space on every corner — making it one of the world’s top 20 cleanest cities!

11. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a spotless city with about 430,000 residents. It’s one of the most wonderful cities in this world. Although it’s small in size, it has the largest number of green areas among the world’s capital cities.

Tallinn Estonia

Due to the capital’s high educational level, its streets are spotless, and practically every family recycles waste paper to help minimize landfill levels.

In addition, the city benefits from the absence of large industries or significant sources of pollution nearby. Everyone who lives there recognizes how critical it is for them to be part-time environmentalists at home. And they take their green lifestyles everywhere they go.

12. Oslo, Norway

This is one of the most enthralling places to reside. The air in this city is clean and fresh. It is a pollution-free environment with stunning natural beauty evident from every angle. The streets are clean because residents do not leave trash on the ground or hurl items out of car windows; instead, they utilize suitable trash cans. 

Oslo Norway

Thanks to all the parks and green space, there’s also plenty of space for exercise outside. You can take your dog with you walking around town without worrying about having tangled in leashes or being attacked by other animals. There aren’t many stray dogs roaming around like those seen in other countries where dogs are left unattended.

13. London, United Kingdom

London United Kingdom

London is known as one of the cleanest cities on Earth, and it serves as a model for other places to follow. The people of London believe that a more pristine atmosphere improves people’s lives and lowers crime rates. Accordingly, the government has passed many laws and implemented programs to keep the air clean, such as making it almost impossible for cars with high carbon emissions to circulate. The city is also at the forefront of water conservation, recycling, and clean energy.

14. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the world’s cleanest cities. It utilizes a sustainable waste management system that recycles or reuses over 98 percent of its trash and generates no landfill waste at all! 

Stockholm Sweden

Additionally, the city has an ecologically friendly public transportation system that includes train and bus services for the city’s people to use. This contributes to eliminating air pollution caused by automobiles inside city limits. What’s more, Stockholm has been recently recognized as one of Europe’s most livable cities, which means it won’t break the wallet to live here either!

15. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Iceland

You can claim that the city is ultra-sustainable when all of your hot water, heating, and energy comes from hydropower and geothermal resources. That is precisely the situation in Reykjavik. With a population of about 123,000 people, Iceland’s seaside capital is a perfect example of a city successfully utilizing urban renewable energy. The same sources used for practical utilities are also used to power the area’s natural hot springs and heated outdoor pools, such as the Blue Lagoon. Furthermore, zero-emission energy sources generate pure air.

16. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town South Africa

Cape Town is considered Africa’s most eco-friendly metropolis, with vast natural preserves, kilometers of stunning coastline, and an efficient public transportation system. The massive metropolis, home to 3.8 million people, is located beneath the iconic Table Mountain on South Africa’s southern coast. Cape Town has been praised since 2004 for its sustainable development policy, which seeks to use 10% solar power and 10% renewable energy sources overall.

Author’s Note

There you have it—the top cleanest cities in the world. With the number of cities featured having gone up, the list is growing each year. It would not be easy to pick a favorite, as they are all such unique places.

Are you planning a trip to somewhere new soon? United States? Find out which US cities are most sustainable and clean. In addition, discover easy ways to go green and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Hopefully, this article has helped you be able to make more informed decisions when traveling and exploring these beautiful cities! Thank you for reading!

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