The Most Polluted National Capital: Delhi


Pure air/Clean air has been a dream for many in Indian major cities due to high level of pollutant particles in air we breathe. This has started rising since 1998 and now we are facing the deadliest and worst air quality in the world. India leads the list of highly polluted cities with 35 out of 50 top polluted cities in the world.

The list was published by IQAir a Swiss-based technology company. Our national capital Delhi stands at the 10th position in that list which was published in March 2021.

The report for air quality consists of pollutant particles in the air which are very harmful to our lungs and respiratory system. A report from IQAir mainly covers ground-based data from monitoring stations around 106 countries which are operated by governmental agencies, local residents, non-profit organizations, and companies.

Main focus is on PM2.5 (Particulate Matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which can enter the lungs and the bloodstream).

The IQAir Report

The report from IQAir was published for the year 2020, which clearly indicates that Delhi stands as the top polluted national capital with few more cities of India topping the list of top 50 polluted cities in the world. But, on the other side IQAir also stated that India as a whole has managed to reduce the air pollution in big cities compared to the data of 2019 with 2020.

Delhi’s concentration level, based primarily on data from the Central Pollution Board, was 84.1 µg/m³ in 2020; around 15% improvement from the 98.6 µg/m³ recorded in 2019. This was possible due to the complete lockdown in Delhi as well as around the states surrounding Delhi.

Even though it went down in numbers, it still stands under unsafe air and has retained the top rank in unsafe air to breathe for the third consecutive year. Delhi state government is trying every way possible to curb this issue and ensure safety for the residents of Delhi. Recent news was aired about installing air smog towers to control the polluted air which mainly take rise from the month of October and continues till February every year.

Reducing Life Expectancy in Delhi

If someone tells you that “your life will be short of 9.7 years,” then what will be your reaction? Currently, the northern part of India is witnessing this horrific phenomenon. Northern part of India is the most air polluted region of India and it has the highest life degrading air which has the average of declining 8.5 years in 2019.

In terms of state Delhi is still the most impacted, with the average person losing 9.7 years of life as compared to average life expectancy of other states in India.


There are many reasons to Delhi’s contaminated air; and government is trying their level best to resolve this issue. They have installed smog towers in many areas of Delhi, asked neighboring states to take necessary steps to reduce burning on farm land which is one of the contributors to the capital’s impure air.

Delhi government is heavily investing in electric vehicles to reduce pollution from vehicles.

It is now up to the public; how they want their city air to be? Government will try their best and public should monitor government activities and spontaneously try to contribute and address this impure air issue for the upcoming generation in context to current population. Let’s try to curb this issue and reduce the pace of global warming.

– by Parag Ahire

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