Published on: March 16, 2023

World Air Quality Report

World Air Quality Report

Why in news? According to the Annual World Air Quality Report , India has ranked eighth in the list of countries with the worst air quality index.


  • The annual world air quality report was published by Swiss air quality technology company IQAir.
  • Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Bangladesh being the five most polluted countries in 2022.
  • Pakistan’s Lahore was the most polluted metropolitan area of 2022, making a huge forgettable leap from 15th rank in 2021.
  • Only nine cities in the Central and South Asia region achieved annual PM2.5 concentrations in 2022 that met WHO Guidelines.
  • Just six countries – Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand met the WHO’s safe limit, and 90% of 131 countries and regions included in the study exceeded the annual PM2.5 guideline value.

What does the report state about India ?

  • 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India.
  • India fared badly on air pollution index in 2022 even though it improved three places from the previous year on the list of countries with worst air quality,
  • The annual average PM2.5 level, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, should be 5 µg/m3 or less but India’s annual average PM2.5 level in 2022 was 53.3 μg/m3, more than 10 times the safe limit
  • Bhiwadi in Rajasthan was the most polluted city in the country with PM levels of 92.7, and Delhi the most polluted metropolitan city with PM levels of 92.6.

Why Does The Report Assess Only PM2.5?

  • 5 is generated from many sources and can vary in chemical composition and physical characteristics.
  • Common chemical constituents of 5 include sulphates, nitrates, black carbon, and ammonium.
  • The most common human-made sources include internal combustion engines, power generation, industrial processes, agricultural processes, construction, and residential wood and coal burning.
  • The most common natural sources for PM2.5 are dust storms, sandstorms, and wildfires.

What are initiatives taken by government of India to control air pollution ?

  • The Central Government has launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) under the Central Sector “Control of Pollution” Scheme as a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy to tackle the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 % to 30 % reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024
  • Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was notified on 2017, for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution in Delhi and NCR.
  • SAMEER app has been launched wherein air quality information is available to public along with provision for registering complaints against air polluting activities.
  • Monitoring stations have set up in 132 cities in the country to monitor air pollution and steps are being taken by the government to reduce pollution
  • Government has taken steps on changing BS4 norms in vehicles for fuel emissions to BS6 and is evolving schemes in various cities for setting up Metro rails.