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Delhi ranks world’s most polluted capital

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

India is the third most polluted country and Delhi is a most polluted capital in the world out of 106 countries in 2020.

The World Air quality report by swiss technology company IQ Air, released on Tuesday, mention that 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities globally are in India.

The study measured the concentration of poisonous PM2.5, particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can be carried deep into the lungs, as higher PM2.5 levels could cause deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems. Despite wide speed air quality improvements during 2019 - 20 , air pollution in India is still dangerously high.

Delhi was followed by Dhakka and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. With in South Asia India cities of Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, bisrakh Jalalpur, Bhiwadi and Noida were cited as a top five most polluted regional cities all of which are part of the national capital region.

The main sources of air pollution in Delhi include vehicle exhaust, heavy industry such as power generation, small-scale industries like brick kilns, suspended dust on the roads due to vehicle movement and construction activities, open waste burning, combustion of fuels for cooking, lighting, and heating, and in-situ power generation via diesel generator sets.

Compounding the problem are seasonal emissions from dust storms, forest fires, and open field fires during harvest season. Extreme air pollution from these sources affects millions of people in densely populated regions who are exposed to thick, toxic smog for long periods of time.

Earlier in February, a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of IQAir data said that air pollution caused by hazardous PM2.5 fine particulate matter led to the death of 54,000 people in Delhi in 2020 where pollution levels remained almost six times above the prescribed WHO limits. It said that 1800 deaths per million were estimated due to PM2.5 air pollution in Delhi.


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