World's most polluted capital cities revealed as Delhi is ranked worst

Christopher Davidson
March 6, 2019

According to a new study showing South-Asia's battle with deteriorating air quality and the global climate accord, India accounts for having seven of the top 10 of the most polluted cities in the world.

The fine particulate matters (PM2.5) considered in this study is notorious for its ability to penetrate deep into lungs and bloodstream causing serious long-term health complications leading to premature death.

The report, Global Air Pollution 2018, was officially released on Tuesday. The study also showed South Asia's fight with worsening air quality and the economic toll it is expected to take worldwide.

The latest data compiled in the IQAir AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality Report and interactive World's most polluted cities ranking, prepared in collaboration with Greenpeace Southeast Asia, reveals levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air in cities and countries in 2018.

The city's average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic metre of air was 113.5 in 2018, the groups said in their report, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 50.9 during the year, making it the eighth most polluted in the world.

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According to another report by Greenpeace on pollution, even if the country reduces PM10 levels that it targets to accomplish by 2024, India will still have 139 cities with hazardous pollution levels. As a whole, India stands third among the most polluted countries in the world, after Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In total, authors found that 64 per cent of world cities exceeded WHO guidelines, with 100 per cent of measured cities in the Middle East and Africa breaking the limit.

The 2018 World Air Quality Report was based on information from over 3,000 cities.

What's adding more fuel to the fire are the amplifying effects of climate change on air pollution. IQAir AirVisual has included data from air quality monitors operated by private organisations and individuals.

But critics have accused his administration of failing to adequately address environmental issues, including air pollution, and criticised New Delhi's recently-minted National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as insufficient.

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