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India Ranks Third In Global Pollution: IQAir Study Shows 42 Out Of 50 Most Polluted Cities Are Indian

According to a report released by Swiss air quality monitoring body, IQAir after Bangladesh and Pakistan, India is  the third-most polluted country in 2023

India has been declared the third-most polluted country in 2023, trailing behind Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to the World Air Quality Report 2023 released by Swiss air quality monitoring body, IQAir. With an average annual PM2.5 concentration of 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter, India ranked third in air pollution out of 134 countries surveyed. This marks a deterioration from India’s 2022 ranking as the eighth most polluted country, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 53.3 micrograms per cubic meter.

The report highlighted that 42 out of the top 50 most polluted cities in the world were in India, with Begusarai emerging as the most polluted metropolitan area in 2023, followed by Guwahati and Delhi. Begusarai, located in Bihar, experienced a significant increase in PM2.5 concentration from 19.7 micrograms per cubic meter in 2022 to 118.9 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023. Guwahati witnessed a doubling of PM2.5 concentration from 51 to 105.4 micrograms per cubic meter over the same period, while Delhi saw a rise from 89.1 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter.

“The alarming rise in air pollution levels across India implies the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address this pressing issue. Immediate action is required to mitigate the health and environmental risks associated with high levels of PM2.5 concentration,” said  Rajesh Kumar, Environmental activist.

Other Indian cities featured in the top 50 most polluted cities list included Greater Noida, Muzzafarnagar, Gurgaon, Arrah, Dadri, Patna, Faridabad, Noida, Meerut, Ghaziabad, and Rohtak. The data in the report was collected from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,812 locations in 134 countries, territories, and regions.

“The data from the World Air Quality Report 2023 serves as a stark reminder of the detrimental impact of air pollution on public health and the environment. It underscores the importance of collaborative efforts between government, industry and civil society to implement effective policies and initiatives aimed at reducing air pollution levels,”said  Priya Sharma, Public Health Expert, according to media reports.

Key findings from the report revealed that the top five most polluted countries in the world in 2023 were Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and Burkina Faso. Additionally, seven countries met the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline, including Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and New Zealand. Africa remained the most underrepresented continent in terms of access to air quality data, with a third of the population lacking such information.

“India’s ranking as one of the most polluted countries in the world highlights the critical need for investment in cleaner technologies and sustainable urban planning. Addressing air pollution requires concerted efforts to transition towards renewable energy sources, improve public transportation infrastructure, and implement stringent emission standards for industries,”said Anil Gupta, Environmental Policy Analyst

Moreover, nine out of the top ten most polluted cities globally were located in India. China also experienced a rise in PM2.5 concentration by 6.3 per cent  to 32.5 micrograms last year, after five consecutive annual declines. For the first time, Canada topped the list as the most polluted country in Northern America, with its 13 most polluted cities located within its borders.

India Ranks Third In Global Pollution: IQAir Study Shows 42 Out Of 50 Most Polluted Cities Are Indian

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