According to IQAir, New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020. IQAir is a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
Despite an 11 percent reduction in the annual average of PM2.5 levels due to nationwide coronavirus lockdown curbs imposed last year, India emerged as the world’s third-most polluted country after Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The group published a report on World Air Quality which clearly stated that India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities. The data in the report was gathered for 106 countries.
The findings were based on the country’s annual average of particulate matter PM2.5, airborne particles with less than 2.5 microns in diameter.
Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems, reports a UK-based international wire agency.
The study said that in 2020, New Delhi’s average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 84.1, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 37.5 during the year, making it the 14th most polluted city in the world.
Air pollution caused an estimated 54,000 premature deaths in New Delhi in 2020, according to a recent study by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis and IQAir.