In a recent ranking of cities with the most polluted air, Delhi, India, has emerged as the most polluted city globally, surpassing other major urban centers in Vietnam, China, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The rankings, based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) measurements, highlight the growing concern of deteriorating air quality in some of the world’s most populated regions.

Here are the top 5 cities with the most polluted air:

  1. Delhi, India – AQI of 189: Long known for its struggle with air quality, Delhi continues to grapple with high levels of particulate matter, vehicle emissions, and industrial pollution. Recent initiatives to tackle pollution, such as odd-even vehicle regulations and a ban on firecrackers during festivals, have yet to show a significant impact.
  2. Hanoi, Vietnam – AQI of 183: Close on Delhi’s heels, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, faces similar challenges. Rapid urbanization and motorization, combined with industrial growth, have led to deteriorating air quality in the city.
  3. Beijing, China – AQI of 183: Once the poster child for air pollution, Beijing has made significant efforts in recent years to improve its air quality. However, the city still witnesses bad air days, especially during winters when coal heating adds to the pollution levels.
  4. Lahore, Pakistan – AQI of 182: Pakistan’s second-largest city, Lahore, is plagued by a mix of vehicular emissions, industrial outputs, and dust from construction sites. Residents often face ‘smog’ conditions in the winter months, forcing schools to shut down and impacting daily life.
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia – AQI of 167: Jakarta, with its traffic congestion and numerous industrial zones, has been struggling with air quality for years. The city’s topography, surrounded by several coal power plants, exacerbates the problem.

The alarming figures from these cities underline the urgent need for a global response to air pollution, a silent killer responsible for several million premature deaths each year. As countries continue their development trajectories, striking a balance between growth and environmental sustainability becomes paramount. This ranking serves as a call to action for policymakers, environmentalists, and the public to join forces in addressing this global crisis.

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