India has been listed as one of the top 5 most polluted countries in the world in the 2019 World Air Quality Report by IQ air. Almost half of the top 50 most polluted cities are from India. Ghaziabad near Delhi is the most polluted city in the world with an average concentration of 110.2 ug/m3 PM2.5 particles.
Ghaziabad, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and Greater Noida are among the top 10 of the list.
The report also said that no Indian city reached the WHO target for annual pollution exposure (10ug/m3) during 2019.
It also said that India's population indicates the requirement for a larger air quality monitoring network as several communities and highly populated cities do not have access to such information.
In November last year, a public health emergency was declared in Delhi NCR as certain parts crossed the 800 mark on the air quality index, which was thrice the hazardous level.
The Indian government started the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and joined the UN's Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2019 to make a better effort towards cleaning the air. The NCAP works with the local governments and aims to reduce PM2.5 and PM10 particles by 20-30% by 2024 compared to 2017 in 102 cities. Automobile manufacturers are also shifting to the cleaner Bharat VI fuel.
Indian cities in 2019 had reported a decrease in 2.5PM particles than in 2018, but the report says that it is an indicative of economic slowdown and not a result of these initiatives.
The report takes into consideration the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) report published by different countries. These particles that have a diameter of 2.5 micrometer are considered very harmful as they are small enough to get inside our lungs and vascular system.