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10 Most Polluted Cities of India

May 21, 2016

India's-Most-Polluted-Cities

In the recent study held by WHO in 2016 it came to light that while Delhi has seen a marginal decline in level of pollution, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India have joined the other global cities with the highest levels of particulate matter (PM). About 34 Indian cities figured in the list of the 100 most polluted ones, and 22 Indian cities found their names among the top 50 most polluted cities in the world.

The WHO’s urban air quality database covers 1,600 cities across 91 countries and the ranking was based on the annual mean pollution levels for the year 2012.

Pollution Index

The pollution of a certain region is gauged through the pollution index which is an estimation of the pollution in the overall region, with maximum weightage given to air pollution, followed by water and other types of pollution. To put matters in perspective, while the annual mean of PM 2.5 in (ug/m3) of New York and London is 9 and 15, that for Delhi is 122.

Air Quality Monitoring

The pollution levels in the Indian cities have increased due to surge in construction work, boom in industrial activity and sharp spike in use of vehicles. The Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are not equipped to deal with this sudden rise in pollution and have poor air quality monitoring systems. Hence, smaller cities such as Agra, Raipur, Faridabad, Ludhiana and Patna report more poor air quality days than metropolitan cities such as Delhi and Bengaluru.

Here is a list of the cities in India that feature in the list of the most polluted cities:

1. Delhi

The national capital is the most polluted city in India and also 2nd most polluted city in the world. It is indeed a matter of concern as the pollution is making millions of people vulnerable to physical ailments.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 153µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 286µg/m3

Read : Pollution in Delhi after Diwali Celebration

2. Patna, Bihar

Patna features in the second position as the most polluted city in India despite not being an industrial city. The matter of concern here is the fact that Patna’s main source of income is agriculture which will surely suffer due to rise in the levels of pollution.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 149µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 164µg/m3

3. Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Gwalior, the city known for its architectural heritage, finds the third spot in the list of the most polluted cities in India. Tourism is the key source of income here but the pollution is going to affect not only the inflow of tourists but it is also going to take a toll on the historical monuments here.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 144µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 329µg/m3

4. Raipur, Chattisgarh

The capital of Chattishgarh, rich in coal, and with many power plants and industries in the region, produces maximum electricity in India. Unfortunately, these power plants and industries are also the reason behind the increase in pollution levels making it hazardous for the natives.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 134µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 305µg/m3

5. Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad is not only the 5th most polluted city in India but also the 27th most polluted city in the world ranking. Ahmedabad, with its booming textile industry, is the third fastest growing city. However, the same textile industries have also resulted in the increase in pollution levels.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 100µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 67µg/m3

Cities              

PM2.5 (µg/m3)

PM10 (µg/m3)

Delhi

153

286

Patna

149

164

Gwalior

144

329

Raipur

134

305

Ahmedabad

100

67

Firozabad

96

218.5

Amritsar

92

210

Kanpur

88

201.5

Agra

88

200

Ludhiana

86

195.5

6. Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh

Firozabad, with a large concentration of glass industries, is renowned for the production of glass bangles. The glass industry has also contributed to the increased pollution levels. It now ranks 6th in India.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 96µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 218.5µg/m3

7. Amritsar, Punjab

Increased vehicular traffic is the main reason behind the increased pollution in Amritsar. One of the largest cities in India, the increase in the purchasing ability of the natives has increased the number of vehicles in the city.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 92µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 210µg/m3

8. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

There are no laid guidelines and protocol for the control of pollution in Kanpur. Lack of awareness amongst the citizens has also contributed to northward trend of the pollution levels in Kanpur. The government needs to take immediate action to arrest this increase.

  • Harrmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 88µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 201.5µg/m3

9. Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, Agra is one of the most sought after tourist destinations. However, increase in pollution due to increased mining and dry sand is affecting the tourism industry in Agra. It’s also affecting one of the most magnificent monuments in the world.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 88µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 200µg/m3

10. Ludhiana, Punjab

Ludhiana in Punjab has joined ranks with the most polluted cities of India. A hub of industries in India, the development has taken place without proper administrative checks which has led to the steady increase in the pollution levels. Ludhiana is now considered to be the 10th most polluted city of India.

  • Harmful particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5): 86µg/m3
  • Harmful particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10): 195.5µg/m3

The report of high pollution levels of Indian cities comes at a time when the government has set an ambitious plan to build 100 smart cities across the country. 17 of these proposed smart cities feature in the 100 most polluted cities of the world. While building the smart cities, the government as well as the municipal bodies’ main focus should be on improving the air quality of these cities through proper regulations and administrative back up.

Read More:

Air pollution in India
River Pollution in India
Pollution in Delhi – Types, Causes, and Steps to control it
Plastic Pollution: A Threat to Ecosystem
Air Pollution in Delhi is Caused by Vehicles


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I am an Indian...Wedded to the Olive Green, I believe I belong to the Silent Ranks. I am extremely perturbed by the social issues concerning India. I in my own capacity am trying to bring about that change for a brighter tomorrow.

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Showing 2 Comments :

Not agree with listed cities for 2016
Pls check once Bangalore too. The environment presently available will make you suffering from sinus problems.

I usually travel in multy cities.

Thanks,
Pavan

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superme awesome job

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