List of Most Polluted Cities in the World

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jan 31, 2022, 9:56

Air pollution is one of the most significant health hazards in the modern world. It causes over 7 million premature deaths every year, of which 6,00,000 are children. As a fact, fossil fuel-led air pollution costs the global economy as much as US$ 2.9 trillion, or 3.3% of the worldwide GDP every year. And, the situation is more problematic in the top-10 polluted cities in the world.

List of the Most Polluted Capital Cities in the World

City Name

Country

PM2.5 concentration (µg/m³) 

Delhi

India

84.1

Dhaka

Bangladesh

77.1

Ulaanbaatar

Mongolia

46.6

Kabul

Afghanistan

46.5

Doha

Qatar 

44.3

Bishkek 

Kyrgyzstan 

43.5

Sarajevo

Bosnia & Herzegovina 

42.5

Manama

Bahrain 

39.7

Jakarta

Indonesia

39.6

Kathmandu

Nepal 

39.2

List of the Most Polluted Cities in the World

City Name 

Country

PM2.5 concentration (µg/m³) 

Hotan

China

110.2

Ghaziabad

India 

106.6

Bulandshahr

India

98.4

Bisrakh Jalalpur

India

96

Bhiwandi 

India

95.5

Noida

India

94.3

Greater Noida

India 

89.5

Kanpur

India

89.1

Lucknow

India

86.2

Delhi

India

84.1

Who Prepared the List of the Most Polluted Cities in the World?

The 2020 Air Quality Report has been prepared by IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company. The company’s AirVisual platform monitors air quality in real-time. In addition, the company designs and develops devices and gadgets to protect against airborne pollutants and markets air cleaning products. 

IQAir’s air quality information platform has prepared the list of the most polluted cities in the world after collating and evaluating the PM2.5 data observed and recorded by the company’s ground-level air monitoring systems at various locations worldwide. The primary objective of IQ Air is to let the stakeholders understand the quality of air in cities to take steps to improve it. Therefore, to prepare the list of the most polluted cities in the world, the company sought data only from the busiest monitoring stations in 106 countries.

How is the List of the Top-10 Most Polluted Cities in the World Prepared?

The list containing the top-10 most polluted cities globally is prepared by aggregating the PM2.5 data available through IQAir’s ground-based monitoring facilities set up by the governments of respective countries and private air quality monitoring centres. 

Monitoring air quality has become necessary considering the increasing pollution level due to growing urbanization. The top-10 most polluted cities globally have been compiled after analyzing the air quality information of top capital cities in 106 countries. 

What is PM2.5?

IQAir analyses the PM2.5 levels to compile the list of the most polluted cities in the world. PM2.5 is the most harmful particulate matter for human health found in the air. It refers to the ambient airborne particulates whose size is less than 2.5 microns. PM2.5 is responsible for many health problems such as respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and premature mortality.  

PM2.5 is composed of many harmful chemical elements and generally comes from motor vehicles, industrial gases, power plants, agricultural burning, and biomass burning. Because of its microscopic size can easily penetrate human blood through the air they inhale, causing heart and lung diseases, including asthma, stroke, and lung cancer.  

The top-10 polluted capital cities and cities in the world can give you an insight into the potential risks of living in such places. It also helps the government understand and take steps to contain the damage caused by air pollution.

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FAQs about Most Polluted Cities in the World

  • Which is the most polluted city in the world?

Hotan in China is the most polluted city in the world

  • Who prepares the list of the ten most polluted cities in the world?

IQAir analyses the PM2.5 levels to compile the list of the most polluted cities in the world.

  • What is PM2.5?

PM2.5 refers to the ambient airborne particulates whose size is less than 2.5 microns.