Canada and Northeast America recently experienced the worst air quality in decades. This, due to forest fires in Canada, caused major smoke, fog, and poor air quality in cities like New York and Philadelphia. However, they’re not the first to deal with this hazardous air. About 90% of the global population in 2022 experienced unhealthy air quality, according to a new report from Swiss air quality technology company IQAir. Want to know which country experienced the worst? These are the most polluted cities in the world.
IQAir measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM 2.5. According to the World Health Organization, acceptable levels of air pollution are below 5 micrograms per cubic meter. Lahore, Pakistan recorded 97.4 micrograms of PM 2.5 particles in 2022.
IQAir says Lahore, which is always foggy, is 10 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value. Inhabitants are advised to wear masks, reduce outdoor activity, and close windows to avoid letting in dirty air.
Hotan, China, is one of the most polluted cities in the world, recording extremely dangerous air quality levels. The current air quality is 1789, 74.9 times the WHO annual guidelines. In 2022, the city had 94.3 micrograms of PM 2.5 particles per cubic meter.
Over 400,000 people live in this western region of China. Such high levels of pollutants are attributed to the fine and coarse blown into the air from sandstorms as well as fumes from the many factories and cars in the city.
Bhiwadi, India, is the third most polluted city in the world, according to IQAir. They ranked 92.7 micrograms of PM 2.5 particles per cubic meter as of 2022. This amount of chemicals is extremely hazardous to people in the city.
People in Bhiwadi don’t even realize how bad the air quality is. Many citizens are too poor to stay inside and care for their health. The government doesn’t address the issues either. People who work outside suffer from chest pains, asthma, and heart palpitations.
According to IQAir, Delhi’s air had 92.6 micrograms of PM 2.5 particles per cubic meter. This is dangerous to the lungs, especially for immune-compromised groups. IQAir advises citizens to wear masks, run an air purifier, and avoid outdoor exercise.
Delhi is the capital of India, so it is highly populated. Increased population leads to increased industrialization, cars and buses on the road, and toxic emissions. The winter months are worse for air quality because farmers slash and burn crops, releasing more polluting particles.
The fifth most polluted city in the world in 2022 was Peshawar. This city in Pakistan borders Afghanistan, which also contributes to the air pollution problem. IQAir gave the city a 91.8 reading, meaning the air is unhealthy to breath in.
The pollution is attributed to vehicular emissions from the many cars, motorbikes, and rickshaws on the roads as well as from burning unclean materials in factories that use brick kilns.