Delhi world's most polluted capital—fourth time in a row!

Begusarai in Bihar is the most polluted metropolitan area globally, per the World Air Quality Report 2023 by Swiss organisation IQAir

PM2.5 concentrations in India have exceeded the WHO annual guideline by more than 10 times, said an IQAir global report (photo: Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
PM2.5 concentrations in India have exceeded the WHO annual guideline by more than 10 times, said an IQAir global report (photo: Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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NH Digital

India has ascended further in the global air quality index—we now stand right on the awards podium, at third most polluted country in the world, trailing just behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In 2022, we stood in eighth place.

World Air Quality Report 2023 analyses PM2.5 data from 7,812 cities across 134 countries (photo: IQAir)
World Air Quality Report 2023 analyses PM2.5 data from 7,812 cities across 134 countries (photo: IQAir)
IQAir

India's average PM2.5 levels have increased to 54.4 micrograms ( we were at 53.3 micrograms last year), according to the World Air Quality Report 2023 by Swiss organisation IQAir—that's exceeding WHO annual guidelines by more than 10 times, said the report.

Begusarai in Bihar has been identified as the most polluted metropolitan area globally, and its got lost of patriotic company—42 of the world's 50 most polluted cities are in India.

Begusarai is followed by Guwahati and then Delhi in the country rankings, as the capital retains its crown as global capital of air pollution for the fourth time running since 2018.

Climate change seems to have exacerbated air quality issues, with extreme weather events and increased wildfires intensifying pollution worldwide too.

The report analyses PM2.5 data from 7,812 cities across 134 countries, revealing significant gaps in air quality monitoring networks, particularly in Africa.

Commenting on the IQAir recent report, Frank Hammes, global CEO of IQAir, stresses the importance of accessible air quality data, noting its role in prompting action and improving air quality.

"A clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a universal human right. In many parts of the world the lack of air quality data delays decisive action and perpetuates unnecessary human suffering. Air quality data saves lives. Where air quality is reported, action is taken, and air quality improves,” said Frank Hammes, Global CEO of IQAir.

The findings serve as a wake-up call for South Asian cities, emphasising the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels towards clean energy sources.

The World Air Quality Report 2023 highlights India's concerning position as the third most polluted country globally, with a notable increase in PM2.5 levels (photo: IQAir)
The World Air Quality Report 2023 highlights India's concerning position as the third most polluted country globally, with a notable increase in PM2.5 levels (photo: IQAir)
IQAir

The report underscores the necessity of sustainable transportation solutions and calls for phasing out diesel, gas and petrol vehicles in favour of renewable energy-powered public transit.

Investing in clean energy and prioritising pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure are essential steps towards combating air pollution and safeguarding public health and the environment, said the report.

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