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List of 10 most polluted regions in India

12:11 PM Sep 01, 2023 IST | Ground Report
list of 10 most polluted regions in india

The top ten cities that have failed to reduce their PM2.5 levels are present here in the list of India's Most Polluted Cities (2023).

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report from the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute highlights Delhi as the most polluted region in India.


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According to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report by the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute, Delhi is the most polluted region in India. Delhi leads, with Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Tripura, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan following.

The report said 67.4% of the Indians live in areas exceeding country’s own national air quality standard of 40 µg/m3.


Top Ten India’s Most Polluted Cities (2023)

S, NoCities
2.Uttar Pradesh
7.West Bengal

At the turn of the century, particulate pollution levels in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan were 51.3 percent lower than what the average resident currently experiences. If pollution levels in 2000 had remained constant over time, residents in these countries would have been on track to lose 3.3 years of life expectancy, as opposed to the 5.2 years they stand to lose in 2021.


Northern Plains: India's Severely Polluted Region

Among all nations, India bears the most substantial health burden attributed to air pollution, primarily because of the extensive population exposed to elevated levels of fine particulate pollution. India has been responsible for 59.1 percent of the global increase in pollution since 2013.


Based on the latest satellite-based PM2.5 data, pollution in India increased from 56.2 µg/m3 in 2020 to 58.7 µg/m3 in 2021. This level surpasses the WHO's recommended limit by more than tenfold. Failure to meet this guideline could result in an average life expectancy reduction of 5.3 years for Indian residents.

India's Northern Plains emerge as the most heavily polluted region within the country, hosting over half a billion individuals, which accounts for 38.9 percent of the nation's population. Consequently, residents of this region, if pollution remains unabated, face an estimated loss of approximately 8 years in life expectancy.

Furthermore, this region includes Delhi, the world's most polluted megacity, with an annual average particulate pollution level of 126.5 µg/m3. This exceeds the WHO guideline by over 25 times.

What Can We Do?

To address air pollution, there are several actions we can take. Motor vehicles are a major source, with some cities attributing up to 95% of carbon monoxide to them. To reduce pollution, individuals can choose to walk, bike, or use public transport for short trips. Additionally, electric or hybrid vehicles are eco-friendly options.

At the national level, policies can be more complex, balancing environmental concerns with economic development. Wealthier countries should consider adopting a carbon tax system. This tax incentivizes emission reduction by charging consumers during purchases. It addresses both climate change and air pollution generated from fossil fuels and vehicle emissions.

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