Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Air Pollution- The Silent Killer

Air Pollution- The Silent Killer

“I want people, when they realize they have been wrong about the world, to feel not embarrassment, but that childlike sense of wonder, inspiration, and curiosity that I remember from the circus, and that I still get every time I discover I have been wrong: “Wow, how is that even possible?”
― Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Air pollution has always been an environmental health threat and a problem that countries suffer from until today. Our analysis starts with an interactive Gapminder  followed by a brief discussion about Air pollution between two countries Sweden and South Africa .

Each caption will  guide you to our main objective that is: Air pollution affects Life expectancies of countries like South Africa where they are subject to a less clean Air (nearly 1 million deaths in  Africa are caused by Air pollution).As Hans Rosling stated: Yes we should be embarrassed .Solving this crucial problem remains a big challenge for all the countries. Therefore, a collective work from citizens and government is much needed to build  cleaner, greener and sustainable cities.

Problem with CO2 Emissions in the Arab World

Problem with CO2 Emissions in the Arab World


Meet Ahmad 

Ahmad is a young and healthy adult who likes to engage in various sports. However, he suffers from severe cases of asthma and regularly takes prescribed medications along with his inhaler. Like many people his age, Ahmad is very ambitious about his future and hopes one day that he can become a world star athlete.

Unfortunately, Ahmad is living in Qatar which is known to have a very harsh environment that is filled with air pollution and CO2 emissions that can risk his healthcare and well being.

Let’s Examine what Ahmad is up against!

The following Visual  is a Bar Chart displaying  the average CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) in Arab countries


Ahmad was simply shocked!!

Although Ahmad knew that Qatar had very high levels of air pollution, he was not excepting it to be the highest among all other Arab countries. Ahmad had to act fast and think about ways to convince his parents to finance his journey to a cleaner country with low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the previous graph was not entirely convincing for his father since he wanted to have a more visual understanding of the countries.

A better Visual? 

The following Visual  is the same visual presented before but projected on the map of the Arab World

Before Deciding

Although it seemed Obvious for Ahmad to travel to any of the countries that had low levels of C02 emissions, Ahmad’s Father wanted his son to have a good future prospect. The father demanded to know which of these countries had low levels of unemployment. After a lot of hard work, Ahmad was able to come up with a great visual that explains exactly what his father wants.

Now That’s Clearer

The following Visual is a Stacked Bar chart displaying the average CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) and % of unemployment in Arab countries

Problem Solution

Potential Solutions Solution Validation Recommendation
For Better Future: Convince Ahmad’s father to finance his travel to Saudi Arabia it has less CO2 levels (12.62) with slightly higher unemployment rate (5.58%) Try Exploring other Non-Arab Countries that meet Ahmad’s requirement
For Better Health: Convince Ahmad’s father to finance his travel to Lebanon it has significantly less CO2 levels (2.96) but a higher unemployment rate (8.63%) If to stay in Qatar for guaranteed employment, Ahmad should drastically change his lifestyle and become more health cautious



Ahmad has choices There is no “perfect” solution for Ahmad’s Situation but he has a few options to explore. The problem in our Arab World is that we are (in most cases) required to sacrifice important aspects of our lives to improve other aspects. This dilemma is affecting so many people across the Arab World, especially during these hard times.