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India Ranks Third in Global Air Pollution: Report Reveals Alarming Data

By Vikash Siyag, March 20, 2024

In a recent report unveiled by the Swiss air quality monitoring body, IQAir, India has been identified as the third-most polluted country in the world for the year 2023. This revelation comes after Bangladesh and Pakistan claimed the top two spots in the grim ranking.

The ‘World Air Quality Report 2023’ showcases India’s troubling average annual PM2.5 concentration, standing at 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter. This places India behind Bangladesh, with 79.9 micrograms per cubic meter, and Pakistan, with 73.7 micrograms per cubic meter.

Comparing the data with previous years, the report highlights a disconcerting trend. In 2022, India recorded an annual PM 2.5 average of 53.3µg/m3, positioning it as the eighth most polluted country. This figure marked a significant increase from the 2021 average of 58.1µg/m3.

Delving deeper into the statistics, the report underscores the alarming reality faced by many Indian cities. Among the world’s most polluted urban centers, a staggering 42 out of 50 are located within India. Notably, Begusarai emerged as the most polluted metropolitan area globally, boasting an average PM2.5 concentration of 118.9 micrograms per cubic meter, a stark contrast to its absence from the 2022 rankings.

World's Most Polluted Countries Ranking
Ranking of countries with the highest levels of air pollution

The capital city, Delhi, remains a focal point in the discussion of air quality deterioration. Despite efforts to curb pollution, Delhi’s PM2.5 levels escalated from 89.1 micrograms per cubic meter in 2022 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023. Regrettably, this marks the fourth consecutive year that Delhi has been labeled the most polluted capital city globally, a dubious distinction since 2018.

The report underscores the dire health implications of India’s air pollution crisis. Shockingly, an estimated 1.36 billion people in India are exposed to PM2.5 concentrations surpassing the World Health Organization’s recommended annual guideline level of 5 micrograms per cubic meter. Even more alarming, 1.33 billion individuals, constituting 96 percent of the Indian population, experience PM2.5 levels exceeding seven times the WHO annual guideline. This concerning trend is mirrored at the city level, with over 66 percent of the country’s urban areas reporting annual averages surpassing 35 micrograms per cubic meter.

Amidst the bleak data, a glimmer of hope emerges as the report highlights seven countries—Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand—that have successfully met the World Health Organization’s annual PM 2.5 average of 5µg/m3 or less.

In conclusion, the findings of the ‘World Air Quality Report 2023’ serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for concerted efforts to address India’s air pollution crisis. Without decisive action, the health and well-being of millions hang in the balance, underscoring the imperative for immediate intervention and sustainable solutions.

Table: Average PM2.5 Concentrations in Selected Countries and Cities (2021-2023)

YearCountry/CityAverage PM2.5 Concentration (µg/m3)

This revised table provides a clear overview of the average PM2.5 concentrations in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and specific cities like Begusarai and Delhi for the years 2021, 2022, and 2023.

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Vikash Siyag

Vikash Siyag: SEO Specialist & Freelancer with 5 yrs experience. Expertise in Onpage & Offpage SEO, web development, & website design.

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