Bihar’s Begusarai tops list as most polluted area, Delhi ranked worst capital for air quality

Share this story

city air pollution
A report has ranked Delhi as the worst capital for air quality. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

Bihar’s Begusarai emerged as the “most polluted metropolitan area in 2023,” while Delhi was identified being the capital city with the “poorest air quality” globally, according to the World Air Quality Report 2023 by IQAir, a Swiss organization.

The report revealed that 96 per cent of India’s population resides in regions where air quality surpasses WHO guidelines by seven times. India ranked third worst out of 134 countries in terms of average annual PM2.5 concentration, trailing Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Aidan Farrow, senior air quality scientist at IQAir, emphasised the urgent need for local, national and international efforts to address the air pollution crisis.

The report highlighted that 92.5 per cent of analysed locations across 134 countries exceeded WHO’s PM2.5 guidelines. In the United States, Columbus, Ohio, was identified as the most polluted major city, while Beloit, Wisconsin, topped the list as the most polluted city overall.

Africa remains under-represented in air quality data availability, with a third of its population lacking access to such information. For the first time, Canada was identified as the most polluted country in Northern America.

Additionally, seven countries achieved compliance with the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline, including Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and New Zealand.

PM2.5, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns, has been associated with increased rates of heart attack, stroke and oxidative stress. Even at modest concentrations, PM2.5 pollution poses severe health risks.

In 2021, the WHO tightened its recommended guidelines for PM2.5 pollution from an average of 10 micrograms per cubic meter to 5 micrograms per cubic meter.

Share this story