As per a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Delhi features first in pollution. Air pollution is a serious problem in India despite government efforts at making CNG mandatory in Delhi civic transport.
The study noted that air quality in many of the global cities, outdoor (ambient) air pollution failed to meet WHO guidelines for safe levels thus placing the inhabitants at a serious risk from rising pollution levels.
For this research, 1600 cities across 91 countries were included.
The press release from WHO provides more-
“Only 12% of the people living in cities reporting on air quality reside in cities where this complies with WHO air quality guideline levels. About half of the urban population being monitored is exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels WHO recommends – putting those people at additional risk of serious, long-term health problems.
In most cities where there is enough data to compare the situation today with previous years, air pollution is getting worse. Many factors contribute to this increase, including reliance on fossil fuels such as coal fired power plants, dependence on private transport motor vehicles, inefficient use of energy in buildings, and the use of biomass for cooking and heating.”
India must be alarmed as 13 of the highly polluted 20 cities were from India including New Delhi, Patna, Gwalior and Raipur. Delhi had an annual average of 153 micrograms of small particulates, known as PM2.5, per cubic metre.
Indian officials however denied and pointed out that the data was not reliable and could be misleading.
You might be interested in reading MoEF’s white paper on pollution in Delhi with an action plan