India ranked eighth polluted country in world, PM2.5 still 10 times over WHO’s safe limit


New Delhi: India has been ranked as the eighth most polluted country in the world in 2022, as per the 5th Annual World Air Quality report, released by Swiss firm IQAir on Tuesday.

The PM 2.5 level has dipped to 53.3 microgram/cubic meter, which is still over 10 times the World Heath Organisation’s safe limit. The report also revealed that 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India.

Roughly 60 percent of cities in India included in the report recorded annual PM2.5 levels at least seven times higher than the WHO guidelines.

Bhiwadi in Rajasthan was found to be the most polluted city in India with alarming PM levels of 92.7, and Delhi emerged the most polluted in the world Metropolitan city with PM levels of 92.6.

This report presents PM2.5 air quality data from 7,323 cities across 131 countries, regions, and territories.

As per report the Six countries met the WHO PM2.5 guideline (annual average of 5 µg/m3 or less) are Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand.

A total of 118 (90%) out of 131 countries and regions exceeded the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline value of 5 µg/m3

Five countries – Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, – had poor air quality that far exceeded the WHO PM 2.5 guidelines with average air pollution over 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

Chad stood at (89.7 µg/m3) more than 17 times higher than the WHO PM2.5 annual guideline, Iraq at (80.1 µg/m3) more than 16 times higher than guideline, Pakistan (70.9 µg/m3) more than 14 times higher, Bahrain (66.6 µg/m3) more than 13 times higher, Bangladesh (65.8 µg/m3) more than 13 times higher than the WHO PM2.5 annual guideline.

While the African continent saw an increase from 13 countries represented in 2021 to 19 countries included in this year’s report, Africa remains the most underrepresented continent.

Only 19 countries out of 54 countries have sufficient air quality data, the report said. The region of Central and South Asia was home to eight of the world’s ten cities with the worst air pollution.

Lahore is the most polluted metropolitan area of 2022. It ranked 15 in 2021, Chile became home to eight of the region’s top 15 most polluted cities.

In US, Coffeyville, Kansas was the most polluted city. The other most polluted major U.S. city was Columbus, Ohio California was home to 10 of the 15 most polluted cities in the U.S. Las Vegas was deemed the cleanest major city in the U.S

Air pollution continues to be the world’s largest environmental health threat. Worldwide, poor air quality accounts for 93 billion days lived with illness and over six million deaths each year.

The total economic cost equates to over $8 trillion dollars, surpassing 6.1 percent of the global annual GDP. Air pollution most severely impacts already vulnerable populations.

More than 90% of pollution related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries Children under 18 years old, pregnant women, and older adults all have increased risk of developing or worsening health conditions from air pollution exposure.4


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