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India Ranks Third in World’s Most Polluted Countries; Delhi Maintains Status as Worst Capital for Air Quality

Polluted India
Image Source: Mint

India is now the third most polluted nation in the world. According to the World Air Quality Report 2023 by Swiss company IQAir, India’s air quality in 2023 was better than that of only two nations: Bangladesh and Pakistan, with an average yearly PM2.5 concentration of 54.4 micrograms per cubic metre. Pakistan has 73.7 micrograms per cubic metre, compared to 9.9 micrograms in Bangladesh. These two overtook India among 134 nations to rank one and second in the world, respectively, for pollution.

India came in far lower, at eighth place, the year before. India’s average PM2.5 concentration in 2022 was 53.3 micrograms/cubic metre. Begusarai, in Bihar, was dubbed the most polluted metropolis in the world at the same time. There were 118.9 micrograms of PM2.5 on average per cubic metre. It’s interesting that the state’s financial capital was left off of the list for 2022.

Delhi: World’s Most Polluted Capital

In contrast, the IQAir survey states that Delhi has emerged as the capital city with the worst air quality and 2023, Delhi’s PM2.5 concentrations dropped to 92.7 micrograms per cubic metre. In 2022, it was 89.1 micrograms per cubic metre. For the fourth consecutive time, Delhi earns the title of the world’s most polluted capital city. With the exception of Lahore in Pakistan, ten of the top 11 most polluted cities in the world are located in India. It is a “public health emergency requiring the attention of a responsible government,” according to veteran Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.


WHO’s suggested thresholds

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the PM2.5 concentrations of about 136 Indian individuals are higher than recommended. The paper also stated that the WHO has established an annual recommended limit of 5 micrograms per cubic metre. In India, PM2.5 levels are seven times higher than recommended for around 96% of the population. The annual average for more than 66% of Indian cities has been observed to be greater than 35 micrograms per cubic metre.

Author- Anshika Sharma

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