IQAir Study: New Delhi is World’s Most Polluted City

The Swiss group “IQAir” which measures the air quality levels on the basis of concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles called PM 2.5 presented its “2020 World Air Quality Report”. The report indicated that; the capital city of India, New Delhi, is the world’s most polluted capital across the world for the third straight year in the year 2020.


The report states that, India is home to 35 of the polluted cities out of world’s 50 most polluted cities. IQAir Study had prepared the report by collecting data across 106 countries. The findings of the report were based on annual average of particulate matter PM2.5 and the airborne particles having diameter less than 2.5 microns. The Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 results into the deadly diseases like cancer and cardiac problems.

Key Findings

The report highlights that, in the year 2020, the average annual concentration of PM2.5 of New Delhi was 84.1 cubic meter of air. This figure was more than double the level of PM 2.5 concentration in Beijing with the average of 37.5 in 2020. Thus, it was the 14th most polluted city across the world. The study by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis & IQAir states that, the air pollution resulted into an estimated 54,000 premature deaths in New Delhi in the year 2020. The report further highlights that, amid the covid-19 led lockdown had resulted into 11 % reduction in annual average of the PM 2.5 levels. Despite that, India become the world’s third most polluted country. The top polluted countries include Bangladesh and Pakistan. Report also stated that, the average PM 2.5 levels was 144 micrograms per cubic metre in November 2020 and in December it increased to 157 micrograms per cubic metre because of stubble burning. This was 14 folds greater than the annual exposure guidelines of the World Health Organisation.


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