India was the world’s eighth most polluted country in 2022, dropping from fifth place the previous year. While the PM 2.5 level has dipped to 53.3 micrograms/cubic metre, that is still over 10 times the World Health Organisation’s safe limit.
Top 10 most polluted countries in world
|Top 10 most polluted countries in world
Countries which meet WHO PM2.5 guideline
- New Zealand
The ranking was decided by Swiss firm IQAir in its ‘World Air Quality Report’ released on Tuesday. It is based on the level of PM 2.5, a pollutant closely tracked by scientists and health experts. The data from 131 countries is taken from over 30,000 ground-based monitors, either government or non-government operated.
India’s air quality is seven times worse than the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The fifth Annual World Air Quality Report revealed that while New Delhi is the second most polluted capital city in the world, it is not the most polluted city in India. The most polluted city in India in 2022 was Rajasthan’s Biwadi. The city had an annual Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) level of 92.7, and nearly 60 per cent of cities in India surveyed for the report had pollution at nearly seven times the WHO standards.
The report has been released by IQAir, a swiss air quality technology company, which collected data from more than 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,323 locations in 131 countries.
Commitments by India
India in 2022 had committed to resetting its National Clean Air Program targets with the aim of reducing particulate matter concentrations by 40 percent by 2026. However, the report also highlights policy decisions including the relaxation of environmental regulations for coal mines, allowing for increased production that drover particulate matter.
- In India, the transportation sector contributed almost 20-35 per cent of the PM2.5 pollution. Other sources for worsening air quality are industrial units, coal-fired power plants and biomass burning.
- Delhi ranked 4th in the top 50 most polluted cities in the world. Lahore’s Pakistan is the most polluted city, while Hotan in China ranked second. Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi is in third place.
- Delhi’s PM2.5 level is almost 20 times the safe limit, the report stated.
- Delhi has so far been the most polluted capital in the world and the report made a distinction between ‘greater’ Delhi and New Delhi the capital. Both are in the top 10 and the infamous distinction of being the world’s most polluted capital goes to Chad’s N’Djamena.
- Meanwhile, NCR regions including Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad have seen a decline in pollution levels.
- The report said that there is a 34 per cent decline in Gurugram to 21 per cent in Faridabad if compared to the average PM2.5 levels reported in previous years.
- Delhi has seen a decline of eight per cent.
- According to the report, 31 cities including 10 cities in Uttar Pradesh and seven in Haryana, have seen a steep percentage decline in pollution levels.
- “A total of 38 cities and towns have seen a rise in pollution compared to an average of previous years,” stated the report.
- As per the report, among the six metro cities, Kolkata was ranked the most polluted after Delhi. However, Chennai was stated to be the cleanest with pollution ‘just’ 5x the WHO’s safe level. The metro cities — Hyderabad and Bengalurua — saw pollution levels uptick over the average since 2017.