Of the world’s 100 most polluted cities, 99 are in Asia

(Eco Business, 7 Mar 2019) The world’s filthiest air is in India, but weighted by population it’s worse in Bangladesh. China’s notoriously unbreathable air is improving, while Jakarta is in danger of out-smogging Beijing, data from air monitoring stations all over the world has revealed.

Of the 100 most polluted cities in the world in 2018, 99 were in Asia, according to a global report on annual air pollution levels by Beijing-based monitoring firm AirVisual and environmental group Greenpeace published on Thursday. 

Half of the world’s 50 most polluted cities are in India, and 22 are in China, with Pakistani and Bangladeshi cities making up the rest. In the top 100 smoggiest cities, 33 are in India, and 57 are in China. 

The world’s largest country, however, has seen improvements in air quality in 33 of its dirtiest cities, thanks to emissions regulations and extensive air quality monitoring. Another 24 Chinese cities saw smoggier skies in 2018.

Eleven Indian cities in the top 100 have welcomed cleaner skies this year, while air quality has become smoggier in eight of them, where a cocktail of bad air from traffic, industry, and agricultural and waste burning contributes to the haze.

However, 14 of India’s most polluted cities had no data for 2017.

Gurgaon, also known as Gurugram, a city southwest of India’s capital, New Delhi, has the world’s most polluted air, with the annual average level of PM2.5—small particles considered the most dangerous to human health—more than 13 times higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guidelines of 10μg/m3. 

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Eco Business, 7 Mar 2019: Of the world’s 100 most polluted cities, 99 are in Asia