20 Most Polluted Cities in India (2022 Rankings)

Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death in India. So which cities in India are the most polluted? Smart Air analyzed 2021 air pollution data for dozens of Indian cities to generate the 2022 ranking of the “20 Most Polluted Cities in India”.

Scroll down below for the full rundown of India’s most polluted cities and their annual PM2.5 levels. The annual average PM2.5 in microns (µg/m3) is also given. For reference, the WHO recommended annual limit is 5 microns.

Rankings: 20 Most Polluted Cities in India in 2022

1. Faridabad (228 µg/m3)

Faridabad ranked most polluted city in India

2. Ghaziabad (162 µg/m3)

Ghaziabad ranked 2nd most polluted city in India

3. Gurugram (151 µg/m3)

Gurugram ranked 3rd most polluted city in India for 2021

4. Noida (147 µg/m3)

Noida ranked 4th most polluted city in India for 2021

5. Baghpat (145 µg/m3)

Baghpat ranked 5th most polluted city in India for 2021

6. Kalyan (138 µg/m3)

Kalyan ranked 6th most polluted city in India for 2021

7. Bhiwandi (136 µg/m3)

Bhiwandi ranked 7th most polluted city in India for 2021

8. Moradabad (134 µg/m3)

Moradabad ranked 8th most polluted city in India for 2021

9. Muzaffarpur (130 µg/m3)

Muzaffarpur ranked 9th most polluted city in India for 2021

10. Dharuhera (129 µg/m3)

Dharuhera ranked 10th most polluted city in India for 2021

11. Meerut (119 µg/m3)

Meerut ranked 11th most polluted city in India for 2021

12. Agra (117 µg/m3)

Agra ranked 12th most polluted city in India for 2021

13. Rohtak (114 µg/m3)

Rohtak ranked 13th most polluted city in India for 2021

14. Ankleshwar (98 µg/m3)

Ankleshwar ranked 14th most polluted city in India for 2021

15. Durgapur (96 µg/m3)

Durgapur ranked 15th most polluted city in India for 2021

16. Kurukshetra (95 µg/m3)

Kurukshetra ranked 16th most polluted city in India for 2021

17. Yamuna Nagar (94 µg/m3)

Yamuna Nagar ranked 17th most polluted city in India for 2021

18. Prayagraj (93 µg/m3)

Prayagraj ranked 18th most polluted city in India for 2021

19. Delhi (91 µg/m3)

Delhi ranked 19th most polluted city in India for 2021

20. Patna (89 µg/m3)

Patna ranked 20th most polluted city in India for 2021

Read More: The 25 Least Polluted Cities in the World for 2021?

Analysis of Most Polluted Cities in India

Of the 20 most polluted cities in India, 8 cities are located in Uttar Pradesh, while 5 cities are from Haryana. It is not surprising to see cities from Maharashtra and Bihar in the top 20 rankings, because they are known for their poor air quality. Also, more monitoring devices are required to have adequate air quality data in the particular area, as most cities have limited monitoring stations in India.

2021 data

All of the ranked cities had average air quality many times above the WHO recommended healthy limit. The worst city on the list, Faridabad, averaged PM2.5 levels over 43-times higher than the WHO recommended limit. Even the best city on the list (ranked 20th), Patna, averaged PM2.5 levels 16-times the WHO recommended limit.

How Air Pollution Was Measured to Find Most Polluted Cities in India

There are various pollutants (both particles and gases) that can be found in the air. One of the most commonly tracked pollutants is very small, fine particles called PM2.5.

These small pollutants are under 2.5 micrograms in width and are considered to be one of the more dangerous pollutants due to their ability to enter deep into the lungs and bloodstream. The above rankings of the most polluted cities in India were ranked based on their 2021 average PM2.5 pollution levels. 

Open Data

The raw PM2.5 AQI 2021 India pollution data used for the rankings of India’s most polluted cities are openly available on openaq.


Watch: Run Down of Top 5 Most Polluted Cities in the World
Top 5 Most Polluted Cities in the World (2020 Rankings)

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