Hold Your Breath: 14 Indian Cities Make It To World’s 15 Most Polluted Cities

The Indian capital of Delhi raised a million questions last year with its pollution level breaking all limits. The city was overshadowed by a thick layer of smog which turned out to be one of the worst results of pollution the country has ever seen.

However, according to the WHO global air pollution database, Delhi is not the most polluted city in the world. But wait, there is nothing to be happy about that and we will tell you why.

The WHO database that was released in Geneva, listed 14 Indian cities in the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations. Doesn’t feel great, right?

A view of West Delhi covered in smog.
A view of West Delhi covered in smog. Image source

The chart is topped by Kanpur which has the score of 173 micrograms per cubic metre, followed by Faridabad (172), Varanasi (151), Gaya (149), and Patna (144), completing the top 5. Delhi takes the 6th spot with 143.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had recently stated that air pollution levels saw an improvement in 2017 compared to the situation in 2016. The board, however, hasn’t released the annual average PM 2.5 concentration for 2017 yet.

What is ironical is that the number of cities in the top polluters’ list has increased in the last few years despite the improvement of India’s air pollution monitoring network, with more cities being monitored. Speaking about the same Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said,

Image source

“With improved air quality monitoring, we are beginning to understand the depth and spread of the air pollution problem in India. While Delhi is at the crossroads and is expected to bend the curve post 2016, other pollution hot spots are proliferating across the country.”

The pollution levels in the country started taking a major dip since 2012. In 2010, Delhi was the worst polluted city globally followed by the Peshawar and Rawalpindi. But Agra was the only other Indian city in the top 10 polluted (PM 2.5) cities. Same was the case in 2011. But 2012 saw 14 Indian cities make it to the top 20 and the situation hasn’t changed since then.

The database comes as a major warning to the country and it’s high time we take significant steps to prevent a fatal situation in the future.

Representative Image Source 1, 2