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Delhi ranked world’s most polluted capital fourth year running

According to the World Air Quality Report 2023 by Swiss organisation IQAir, India had the third worst air quality out of 134 countries in 2023 after Bangladesh (79.9 micrograms per cubic metre) and Pakistan (73.7 micrograms per cubic metre).

By: Ruchi Upadhyay  Pardaphash Group
Delhi ranked world’s most polluted capital fourth year running

New Delhi: India’s battle with air pollution has intensified as Begusarai has the dubious honor of being the world’s most polluted metropolitan area and Delhi has been named the most polluted capital city for the fourth year in a row. IQAir’s World Air Quality Report 2023 highlights India’s worsening air quality crisis, with the country ranking third globally for poor air conditions.

According to the latest findings, India has seen a significant increase in air pollution levels, with the average annual PM2.5 concentration at 54.4 micrograms per cubic metre. This marks a drop from its previous ranking of eighth place in 2022.

Notably, Begusarai emerged as a significant hotspot with an average PM2.5 concentration of 118.9 micrograms per cubic metre, which is worryingly absent from the 2022 rankings. Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality dropped from 89.1 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, maintaining its position as the most polluted capital globally since 2018.

The report estimates that 1.36 billion people in India are exposed to PM2.5 concentrations above World Health Organization recommended levels, posing serious health risks. Exposure to such high levels of air pollution worsens health conditions including asthma, cancer, stroke and lung disease and is responsible for an estimated seven million premature deaths worldwide annually. Increasing levels of air pollution not only impair physical health but also affect cognitive development in children and contribute to mental health problems.

IQAir’s comprehensive report is based on data collected from more than 30,000 air quality monitoring stations around the world. The 2023 edition expanded its scope to include data from 7,812 locations in 134 countries, providing more detailed insight into the global air quality landscape. As air pollution remains the greatest environmental threat to human health globally, the findings of this report underline the urgent need for concerted efforts to tackle this crisis.

As the world grapples with the growing air pollution crisis, India’s situation is a reminder of the urgent need for global action. The consistent ranking of Indian cities on top of the global pollution charts not only highlights the seriousness of the issue but also calls for immediate and effective measures to reduce the environmental and health impacts of air pollution. The continued efforts of governments, organizations and individuals around the world are vital in tackling this serious challenge and striving for a cleaner, healthier future for all.

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