The cleanest countries to compete at the Olympics

It’s fair to say that cleaning standards differ from country to country.

As athletes from around the world descend upon Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games, we were curious to identify which countries take the gold, silver and bronze when it comes to cleaning!

Researchers from Yale and Columbia University conducted an extensive study to identify the world’s cleanest countries, taking into account metrics such as water and air quality, habitat protection and street hygiene levels.


5. Norway


EPI Score: 81.1

GDP Per Capita: $48,000

Population: 4.7 million

Ranked as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, Norway has built it’s muscular economy based on vast oil reserves. The global warming impact of those fossil fuels pushes the Viking nation down the rankings. However, that being said, the small nation is home to dense forestry, crystal clear lakes and spotless streets.


4. Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

EPI Score: 86

GDP Per Capita: $33,400

Population: 9.1 million

Narrowly missing out on a medal but earning some bragging rights among the Scandinavian nations, Sweden is making continuous efforts to reduce emissions, fuel its country on green energy and increase forestry.


3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

EPI Score: 86.4

GDP Per Capita: $9,600

Population: 4.5 million

That such a relatively poor and developing country ranks third in the EPI is a testament to the natural endowments of the paradise nation. With its dense forestry, crystal clear waters and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica flies into third place to take the bronze.

Whilst this small nation is still developing its infrastructure and tackling poverty, its internationally renowned reputation for cleanliness is creating a booming tourism sector.


2. Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland

EPI Score: 89.1

GDP Per Capita: $37,000

Population: 7.6 million

The land of green forestry, chalets and world class skiing dives into second place to snatch the silver. Switzerland scores a perfect 100 in forestry, water quality and habitat. The reason it was bumped into second, you ask? Well, like most wealthy industrialised countries, its lowest scoring was in air pollution.


1. Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

EPI Score: 93.5

GDP Per Capita: $36,000

Population: 311,000

This should come as little surprise. Known for its lush greenery and erupting volcanoes, Iceland takes first place and wins the gold for the cleanest country in the world. In the category of air pollution, Iceland scored 97.4, compared with 84.8 for countries of similar GDP per capita.