According to a report released by a Swiss firm IQAir on March 14, 2023, India is home to 39 out of the world’s 50 most polluted cities in the world. Besides the cities, India has been ranked as the 8th most polluted country in the world, for the year 2022.
The data suggests that the average yearly PM2.3 reading in India is over ten times more than the upper limit set by the World Health Organisation. Delhi has maintained one of the top spots in the list of the most polluted cities in the country.
Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi continues to be the country’s most polluted city. It also has the world’s third-worst air rank air quality according to the report.
The World Air Quality Report ranks cities across 131 countries based on the average recorded annual PM2.5 concentration. In 2022, India recorded an annual PM2.5 of 53 µg/m3. Although way above the maximum cap, India has shown improvement in the rankings. India was ranked as the fifth most polluted country in the world in 2021, and as opposed to that it has dropped to number eight.
Among the NCR cities, Delhi was the most polluted city, while Gurugram was the least. In the global list, Delhi is the fourth most polluted city. Only Lahore, Hotan, and Bhiwadi outweigh the city on the list.
“Bhiwadi, the most polluted city in the country, saw annual PM2.5 levels of 92.7 µg/m3 and roughly 60% of cities in India included in this report, experienced annual PM2.5 levels of at least seven times the WHO guidelines,” said the report.
The PM2.5 data comes from a two-level collection of information. Besides the on-ground air-quality monitoring stations, several government agencies, non-profit organisations, and educational institutions also play their part in contributing to bringing out the data.