India’s Air Quality Crisis: 2022 Report Reveals 8th Rank in Global Pollution Index

March 26, 2024
1 min read
Interactive global map of 2023 PM2.5 concentrations by city.
Interactive global map of 2023 PM2.5 concentrations by city. Source: IQ Air

Clean air is essential for survival of all creatures. But is it available today? According to the Swiss firm IQ Air Report released Tuesday, India ranked the world’s eighth most polluted country in 2022. It dropped from the fifth place the previous year. In the list of most polluted cities in the world, out of 50 cities, 39 are in India. Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kuwait, India, Egypt, and Tajikistan were the top ten most polluted countries. Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, and New Zealand met the WHO PM2.5 guideline (annual average of 10µg/m3 or less).

In India, the transport industry is responsible for 20-35% of the country’s PM2.5 pollution. The use of biomass fuels, industrial facilities, and coal-fired plants are other contributors to air quality degradation. Among the top 50 most polluted cities worldwide, Delhi comes in at number 4. The city with the highest pollution is Lahore, Pakistan, followed by Hotan, China. Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi is ranked third. According to the data, Delhi’s PM2.5 concentration is about 20 times higher than the recommended amount.

The research makes a distinction between “big” Delhi and the Capital city of New Delhi because Delhi has historically been the most polluted capital in the world. Both cities rank among the top ten. N’Djamena, Chad, has the dubious distinction of being the world’s most polluted capital. Pollution levels have decreased in NCR (National Capital Region) areas including Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, and Faridabad. Gurugram had a 34% decrease in PM2.5 levels and Faridabad saw a 21% decrease from the average levels observed in prior years. There has been an 8% decrease in Delhi.

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The study claims that pollution levels have significantly decreased in 31 cities including ten cities in UP and seven cities in Haryana. There has been an increase in pollution in 38 cities and towns overall compared to the national average over the previous year, according to the research. The survey placed Kolkata as the most polluted of the six major cities followed by Delhi, Chennai. On the other hand, was said to be the cleanest, with pollution there “only” 5 times the WHO-recommended safe threshold. Since 2017, pollution levels in the major cities of Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been higher than average.

In short, all-out efforts are needed to make the AQI (Air Quality Index) better for the common people not only to survive but also to lead a better life.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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