India Ranked 3rd Worst in Air Quality, Delhi Remains World’s Most Polluted Capital: Report

New Delhi: Bihar’s Begusarai has emerged as the world’s most polluted metropolitan area, while Delhi retained its title as the capital city with the poorest air quality, according to the latest World Air Quality Report.

India ranks third globally in terms of air pollution, with an average annual PM2.5 concentration of 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter. This marks a concerning increase from its eighth position in 2022, highlighting a worsening air quality trend.

Begusarai’s PM2.5 concentration soared to 118.9 micrograms per cubic meter, earning it the unfortunate distinction of the most polluted metropolitan area worldwide. This stark rise is particularly alarming as the city was not even listed in the 2022 rankings.

Delhi witnessed a slight escalation in its PM2.5 levels, reaching 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023 compared to 89.1 micrograms in 2022. The capital has consistently ranked as the world’s most polluted capital city since 2018.

The report underscores the staggering impact of air pollution on India’s population, with 1.36 billion people exposed to PM2.5 concentrations surpassing the WHO’s recommended annual guideline level. Moreover, a staggering 96% of Indians experience PM2.5 levels exceeding seven times the WHO guideline.

The data utilized for the report was collated from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations worldwide, reflecting a comprehensive analysis of global air pollution trends. This year’s report encompasses data from 7,812 locations across 134 countries.

Air pollution remains a critical global concern, contributing to an estimated one in every nine deaths worldwide. It poses severe health risks, exacerbating conditions like asthma, cancer, stroke, and lung disease. Moreover, exposure to elevated PM2.5 levels can hinder cognitive development in children and exacerbate existing illnesses, including diabetes.

Efforts to mitigate air pollution are imperative to safeguard public health and combat this pressing environmental threat.

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