Air Pollution in India

Toxic pollution isn’t in Delhi or Mumbai; it is a ‘pan-India’ phenomenon

According to TERI, more than 80% of the population in urban areas is exposed to emissions that exceed the standard set by the World Health Organisation. Air pollution is one of the key global health and environmental concerns. Furthermore, has been ranked among the top five global risk factors of mortality by the Health Effects Institute. Particulate matter (PM) is considered the third important cause of death in 2017. Additionally, this rate was found to be the highest in India according to Health Effects Institute (HEI).

Read more: Ambient (outdoor) air pollution

Air pollution in Delhi, Mumbai

Delhi, the capital of India, has been facing severe air pollution and the conditions have been worsening every year. And other cities like Mumbai and Kolkata have joined the list of most polluted cities. The air quality in India has deteriorated over time due to anthropogenic activities, massive industrial expansion, population density, and increased automobile use. The emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants brought on by human activity have dramatically increased over the past few decades.

Read more: Air Quality Index on Feb 14, 2023 @ 4 PM 

Air pollution in other cities

According to the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), nearly 100% Population of India breathes air that falls short of quality standards set by the WHO.  As per the World Health Organisation, 14 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India. According to CPCB reports, the Air Quality Index of more than 20 cities in India ranges from poor to severe. 

The CEEW also raised concern over the under-monitoring of air quality in India. The majority of monitors in India are located in urban areas. In contrast to urban areas, rural areas lack real-time monitoring and have a total of 26 monitors most of which are located in Punjab. Due to a lack of monitoring infrastructure, air quality problems in rural India have largely gone unnoticed.

Read more: Air Pollution In India: The Time To Act Was Yesterday

Air pollution around Taj mahal
Air pollution around the Taj mahal | Courtesy: Flickr


As a result, air pollution affects the lives of millions of Indians and is a national issue. Air pollution has negatively impacted brain and lung development in children. And it is also responsible for millions of preventable deaths. It is nothing less than a national health emergency given the severity of the conditions that have gotten worse in India.

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