India houses 7 out of 10 top polluting cities in the world

Residents in India's capital city were exposed to more than ten times the safe amount of air pollution on an average day, a study has shown.

Here are the 100 most polluted cities according to the report, starting with Gurugram, a suburb of the Indian capital New Delhi. Beijing ranks now as the 122nd most polluted city in the world, according to the AirVisual dataset, with PM 2.5 levels falling more than 40% since 2013.

The report also stated that Bangladesh, on average, was the most polluted nation, followed closely by Pakistan and India.

Study shows 7 of top 10 most polluted cities are in India; Gurgaon the worst

The fine particulate matters (PM2.5) considered in this study is notorious for its ability to penetrate deep into lungs and bloodstream causing serious long-term health complications leading to premature death. Delhi - a frequent fixture on global pollution hotspots - was only the 11th most noxious city behind Lahore, Pakistan (10th) and Hotan, China (8th). The World Air Quality report was collected from 3000 and more cities around the globe. Data from a selection of validated outdoor IQAir AirVisual air quality monitors operated by private individuals and organisations have also been included. "We still don't know the magnitude of air pollution problem in terms of PM2.5 monitoring", he said. The other cities in India that made the list of 20 were Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna, Lucknow, Jodhpur, Muzaffarpur, Varanasi, Moradabad, Agra, Gaya and Jind. Executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia, Yeb Sano said, "Local governments can help tackle the effects of air pollution by providing adequate monitoring and reporting infrastructure". "In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated cost of $225 billion in lost labor, and trillions in medical costs". The programme launched this January aims to reduce air pollution by 20-30% from the current level in 102 cities across the country by 2024.

The 15 most polluted cities in Southeast Asia in 2018, with Hanoi in second place and Ho Chi Minh City in 15th. Of the countries analysed, Iceland emerged as the one with the cleanest air.

Greenpeace released the latest air pollution data today with a warning that seven million people will die around the world over the next year because of air pollution.

Vanessa Coleman