94 out of top 100 most polluted global cities are in India, Pakistan, and China, report shows

Just weeks after the commencement of the COP26 climate change conference, observations are showing that 94 of the top 100 most polluted cities come from just three countries.

IQAir, an air quality tracker, ranks global cities by most polluted to least polluted. On their list, India, Pakistan, and China comprise 94 of the first 100 on the list. While China had the number one most polluted city- Hotan- India had the greatest number of cities in the top 100, clocking in at 46. Next came China, with 42, followed by Pakistan, who has 4. The last six were in Bangladesh, who had six, Thailand, and Indonesia, both of whom had one each.

Each of the top 100 cities has a particulate matter (PM) 2.5 of more than 50. Nine of the top ten cities came from India. Hotan, China, number one on the list, had a score of 110.2 in 2020.

However, the air quality tracker, which shows average PM 2.5 ratings over the last several years, shows that many of the cities have had a decrease in their scores. For example, Ghaziabad, India, which is number two on the list, went from an average of 144.6 in 2017 to 106.6 in 2020.

A laborer in Pakistan, Muhammad Saeed, told AFP, “Children are experiencing breathing diseases… for God’s sake, find a solution.” He said he used to take his children for walks with him but due to the worsening air quality, he no longer does. Likewise, shopkeeper Ikram Ahmed told AFP, “I am not a literate person, but I have read that Lahore has the worst air quality and then comes India’s Delhi. If it continues like this, we will die.” It’s estimated that 1.67 million of India’s deaths in 2019 were a result of hazardous air quality.




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