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India Has 39 Most Polluted Cities in the World, Out of Top 50

Even though India has dropped a few positions in the world’s most polluted countries list, 39 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world are Indian cities. A new report from Swiss firm IQAir shared these rankings that are based on the level of PM 2.5 which is closely tracked by scientists and health experts.

The World Air Quality Report released by IQAir reveals air pollution data from 131 countries and over 7,300 cities. While India has dropped a few positions, from 5 to 8, in the most polluted countries list, 39 of its cities are among the 50 most polluted cities, and 65 cities are in the top 100. Because of the new classification, both Delhi and New Delhi are in the top 10. New Delhi is the second worst city in terms of air pollution.

Some of these cities, other than Delhi and New Delhi, are Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, and Faridabad. Notably, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, and Faridabad have seen a decline in pollution levels compared to the average PM 2.5 levels in previous years.

However, these cities are still way beyond the recommended levels of air pollution as per the World Health Organisation’s safe limit. In India, the economic cost of air pollution is estimated to be $150 billion. The transportation sector is said to be causing 20-35 percent of the PM 2.5 pollution. Other sources are industrial units, coal-fired power plants, and biomass burning.

Children and elders, especially those with asthma, cancer, and diabetes among other diseases, are most susceptible to developing problems from the bad air quality in India. Notably, 31 Indian cities have seen a double-digit percentage decline in pollution levels. Of these cities, 10 are in Uttar Pradesh, and seven are in Haryana. Agra saw a drop of 55 percent which was the highest among all Indian cities.

Comparing the top metros in India, Delhi is fourth on the list, Kolkata is at 99, Mumbai at 137, Hyderabad at 199, Bengaluru at 440, and Chennai at 682.

Vineet Washington
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