New Delhi: India's air pollution worsened in 2021, according to the World Air Quality Report released by IQAir, a Swiss firm. This ends a three-year trend of improving air quality. The average air pollution, measured in the lethal and microscopic PM2.5 pollutant, is 58.1 micrograms per cubic meter, which is more than 10 times the World Health Organisation's (WHO) air quality guidelines. No city in India met the WHO standard.
North India is worse. Delhi is the world's most polluted capital for the fourth consecutive year, with pollution rising almost 15 per cent over the previous year. Air pollution levels here were almost 20 times above the WHO's safety limits, with PM2.5 clocking in at 96.4 micrograms per cubic meter for the annual average. The safe limit is 5.
While Delhi's air pollution ranks at No. 4 globally, the world's most polluted place is Rajasthan's Bhiwadi, followed by Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Delhi's eastern border. Ten of the top 15 most polluted cities are in India and mostly around the national capital.