NEW DELHI, March 23: South Indian states leave their northern neighbours in the dust when it comes to having the least polluted cities in the country, according to data from the World Air Quality Report 2021. Out of the 35 least polluted cities/towns in India, 31 are located in the south.
Karnataka comes out on top with 14 of its cities/towns in the list, followed by Tamil Nadu (9), Kerala (4), and Andhra Pradesh (3).
According to the report, 35 of the 50 cities with the worst air quality in the world are in India. In fact, none of the cities in India met the prescribed World Health Organization air quality standards of 5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3).
A majority of the worst polluted cities in India are located in the northern states — in part due to higher population density and prevalence of polluting industries.
“India continues to feature prominently among the most polluted cities with 35 of the top 50 most polluted cities being in this country. India’s annual average PM2.5 levels reached 58.1 µg/m3 in 2021, ending a three-year trend of improving air quality,” said the report.
“India’s annual PM2.5 averages have returned to pre-quarantine concentrations as measured in 2019. Alarmingly, in 2021, none of the Indian cities met the prescribed WHO standards of 5 µg/m3,” it stated.
The report also revealed that 48% of Indian cities exceeded 50 µg/m3 air quality level which is well over 10 times the WHO guidelines.
(ToI With inputs from agencies)