India ranks eighth among countries with the worst air quality index: World Air Quality Report 

The report also states that 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India

March 14, 2023 10:33 pm | Updated March 15, 2023 10:00 am IST - Bengaluru

Smoke from garbage burning at Shrinagar in Bengaluru.

Smoke from garbage burning at Shrinagar in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: File Photo

India has ranked eighth in the list of countries with the worst air quality index and 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India, according to the Annual World Air Quality Report released by Swiss air quality technology company, IQAir.

The 5th Annual World Air Quality Report released by IQAir, states that roughly 60% of cities in India included in the report recorded annual PM2.5 levels at least seven times higher than the WHO guidelines.

The report stated that the average PM2.5 level in 2022 was 53.3 pg/m3, only slightly lower than 58.1 pg/m3 in 2021. Bhiwadi in Rajasthan was the most polluted city in the country with PM levels of 92.7, and Delhi the most polluted metropolitan city with PM levels of 92.6.

The PM levels in Bengaluru also saw an increase in 2022 compared to the previous year. The level in 2022 was 31.5pg/m3 as against 29 pg/m3 in 2021. The PM levels were higher between November and March.

Air quality monitoring has increased over the past years in India, but the country still lacks the ability to track the progress of reduction strategies through an effective and reliable emissions inventory, the report said.

Greenpeace India, commenting on the latest report, said that exposure to air pollution causes and exacerbates several health conditions including asthma, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and premature mortality.

The report cites poor air quality as the reason for 93 billion sick days and over six million deaths worldwide each year.

Avinash Chanchal, campaign manager at Greenpeace India, said, “It is clear that the air quality in India is in a dire state, and the government needs to take urgent action to reduce air pollution. Stricter regulations on industries and vehicles to reduce air pollution are the need of the hour. Additionally, investment in renewable energy in a decentralised manner should be a priority.”

“Furthermore, the government should also invest in ‘real’ public transportation systems such as buses and suburban rail to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads,” Mr. Chanchal added.

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