Guwahati ranks second in World’s Most Polluted Cities

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India was declared as the third-most polluted country in 2023, after Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to a report released by Swiss air quality monitoring body, IQAir.

According to the ‘World Air Quality Report 2023’, with an average annual PM2.5 concentration of 54.4 micrograms per cubic metre, India had the third worst air quality out of 134 countries in 2023 after Bangladesh (79.9 micrograms per cubic metre) and Pakistan (73.7 micrograms per cubic metre)

In 2022, India was ranked as the eighth most polluted country with an average PM2.5 concentration of 53.3 micrograms per cubic metre.

Meanwhile, in the report’s list of the top 50 most polluted cities in the world, 42 cities were in India. Begusarai was the most polluted metropolitan area of 2023, followed by Guwahati and then Delhi.

Located in Bihar, Begusarai had an average PM 2.5 concentration of 118.9 micrograms per cubic metre last year, marking a huge jump from an average of 19.7 micrograms per cubic metre in 2022. The city did not even figure in the 2022 rankings.

Guwahati’s PM2.5 concentration doubled from 51 to 105.4 micrograms per cubic meter between 2022 and 2023.

Delhi, which consistently struggles with air pollution, saw an increase in PM2.5 concentration from 89.1 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter over the same period.

Other Indian cities featuring in the top 50 most polluted cities of the world list included Greater Noida (11), Muzzafarnagar (16), Gurgaon (17), Arrah (18), Dadri (19), Patna (20), Faridabad (25), Noida (26), Meerut (28), Ghaziabad (35) and Rohtak (47).

According to IQAir, the data in its report was gathered from more than 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,812 locations in 134 countries, territories, and regions.

Other key findings from the 2023 World Air Quality Report:

📌 The top 5 most polluted countries in the world in 2023 included: Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and Burkina Faso.

📌 Seven countries which met the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline (annual average of 5 µg/m3 or less) included Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand.

📌 Africa remains the most underrepresented continent, with a third of the population still lacking access to air quality data.

📌 Of the top ten most polluted cities in the world, 9 belong to India.

📌 China also saw PM2.5 rise 6.3% to 32.5 micrograms last year, after five consecutive annual declines.

📌 For the first time in the history of this report, Canada was the most polluted country in Northern America, with the region’s 13 most polluted cities located within its borders.

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