New Delhi, March 16: New Delhi was ranked as the world’s most polluted capital for the third consecutive year in 2020 in the survey conducted by IQAir, a Swiss group. The ranking is based on air quality levels depending on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5. In 2020, the cities, the average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 84.1. It is double the pollution level in Beijing, which is 37.5.
According to a study by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis and IQAir, New Delhi reported 54,000 premature deaths in 2020. Notably, New Delhi is the 10th most polluted city and top polluted capital city in the world. The air quality of New Delhi improved in 2020 as compared to the previous year, mostly due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Delhi Air Pollution: Air Quality Index in the National Capital Plunges to ‘Poor’ Category.
India’s 22 cities are among the 30 top polluted cities in the world. “India continues to feature prominently at the top of the most polluted cities ranking, with 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities globally,” the IQAir report said. Apart from New Delhi, 21 other cities of India in the list are - Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Bisrakh Jalalpur, Noida, Greater Noida, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Agra and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bhiwari in Rajasthan, Faridabad, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, Bandhwari, Gurugram, Yamuna Nagar, Rohtak and Dharuhera in Haryana, and Muzaffarpur in Bihar. Delhi Air Quality: Why Does Air Pollution Rises And Air Quality Start Dipping in National Capital During Winters?
Contextualising the global IQAir report in the Indian context, Avinash Chanchal, Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace India, said while many cities, including Delhi, have recorded marginal improvements in air quality due to lockdowns, the health and economic cost of air pollution remain severe. Pollution levels in the cities are likely to increase in 2021 as the economic activities have resumed after COVID-19 restrictions. In the survey, the data was gathered for 106 countries.