World’s Most Polluted Capital – Delhi; 35 Indian Cities Rank in Top 50


Delhi continues to be the most polluted capital in the world for the fourth year in a row! The IQaIR World Air Quality Report for 2021 includes 35 Indian cities. With Bangladesh (leading the pack) and Chad (the lone oddball here), India is ranked fifth among the world’s most polluted countries, followed by Pakistan (no surprise) and Tajikistan (here in Asia). Dhaka (Bangladesh), N’Djamena (Chad), Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Muscat (Oman) round out the top 5.

According to WHO directives, hazardous airborne particles PM2.5 should not exceed 5 micrograms per cubic metre. In PM2.5, toxic compounds such as ammonium, black carbon, nitrates, and sulfates are present.

However, according to the report, not a single country in the world meets the latest WHO air quality guidelines for PM2.5. Some countries (and cities) are making progress, but it’s too sluggish.

IQAir monitors the air quality index for pollution in Switzerland. The AQI (air quality index) dashboard on the company’s regional website lists the most polluted Asian cities. Top of the leaderboard is Mumbai with an AQI of 160, followed by Delhi with an AQI of 158. With an AQI of 118, Kolkata is 10th in the list.

Vehicle emissions primarily cause PM2.5 pollutants. In India, Avinash Chanchal is the Campaign Manager at GreenPeace India, and he worries that the aggressive annual sale of vehicles will negatively impact air quality.

In 2021 alone an estimated 40,000 children (under the age of 5) succumbed to diseases directly linked with PM2.5 air pollutants. With an ongoing pandemic that severely cripples the lungs, the ever rising PM2.5 is but karela on the cake.

Worried enough? Switch to cycle once in a while for starters. Maybe reduce smoking. Do your li’l bit. The bare minimum at least.