Is Delhi the world's most polluted city right now? Not.

November 10 2017
Is Delhi the world's most polluted city right now? Not.

Not quite. According to the real-time Air Quality Index, the PM 2.5 concentration in Delhi today is as high as 612mpcm. It's even higher in a couple of other cities, however.

Igdir in Turkey is registering a whopping 999. In Piedras Negras, Mexico, the figure is 814. Hazardous readings are also reported in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Carmel, Israel, and Dazhou, China.

While it has reached crisis point, bad air is nothing new in Delhi. According to the World Health Organisation, it is the 11th most polluted city in the world, with an average (mean) annual PM 2.5 concentration of 122. Several Indian cities - including Patna, Gwalior, Lucknow and Raipur - also appear in the top 20. 

But the most polluted of all is Zabol, a city of 137,722 residents in Iran with an average PM 2.5 of 217.

The world's 20 most polluted cities (PM2.5)

  1. Zabol, Iran - 217

  2. Gwalior, India - 176

  3. Allahabad, India - 170

  4. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - 156

  5. Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia - 152

  6. Patna, India - 149

  7. Raipur, India - 144

  8. Bamenda, Cameroon - 132

  9. Xingtai, China - 128

  10. Baoding, China - 126

  11. Delhi, India - 122

  12. Ludhiana, India - 122

  13. Dammam, Saudi Arabia - 121

  14. Shijiazhuang, China - 121

  15. Kanpur, India - 115

  16. Firozabad, India - 113

  17. Lucknow, India - 113

  18. Handan, China - 112

  19. Peshawar, Pakistan - 111

PM 2.5 refers to fine particles (2.5 micrometres or smaller in diameter), which are produced by combustion, including motor vehicles, power plants, forest fires, and some industrial processes.

By comparison, London’s average PM 2.5 is 15, in Paris it is 18, in Los Angeles it is 11, and in Beijing it is 85.

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