22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally, according to a new report prepared by Swiss organization, IQAir, in the form of the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’.
“India continues to feature prominently at the top of the most polluted cities ranking, with 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities globally,” the report said.
The global cities ranking report is based on PM2.5 data from 106 countries, which is measured by ground-based monitoring stations, most of which are operated by government agencies.
Highlights of the report:
1.Delhi’s air quality improved by approximately 15 percent from 2019 to 2020. Despite the improvement, Delhi ranked as the 10th most polluted city and the top polluted capital city in the world.
2. In 2020, around 84 percent of all monitored countries observed air quality improvements, largely due to COVID lockdowns.
3. Besides Delhi, the 21 other Indian cities are Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Bisrakh Jalalpur, Noida, Greater Noida, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Agra, and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bhiwari in Rajasthan, Faridabad, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, Bandhwari, Gurugram, Yamuna Nagar, Rohtak and Dharuhera in Haryana, and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
4. Air quality improvements across major cities in 2020 compared to 2019 include Beijing (minus 11 percent) Chicago (minus 13 percent), Delhi (minus 15 percent), London (minus 16 percent), Paris (minus 17 percent), and Seoul (minus 16 percent).
5. Only 24 out of 106 monitored countries met the WHO annual guidelines for PM2.5 in 2020.
6. South Asia is the most polluted region of the world with Bangladesh, India and Pakistan sharing 42 of the 50 most polluted cities worldwide.
“The year 2020 brought an unexpected dip in air pollution. In 2021, we will likely see an increase in air pollution due to human activity, again,” said Frank Hammes, CEO of IQAir.
He added, “We hope this report will highlight that urgent action is both possible and necessary to combat air pollution, which remains the world’s greatest environmental health threat.”