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)
2. Ghaziabad (162 µg/m3)
3. Gurugram (151 µg/m3)
4. Noida (147 µg/m3)
5. Baghpat (145 µg/m3)
6. Kalyan (138 µg/m3)
7. Bhiwandi (136 µg/m3)
8. Moradabad (134 µg/m3)
9. Muzaffarpur (130 µg/m3)
10. Dharuhera (129 µg/m3)
11. Meerut (119 µg/m3)
12. Agra (117 µg/m3)
13. Rohtak (114 µg/m3)
14. Ankleshwar (98 µg/m3)
15. Durgapur (96 µg/m3)
16. Kurukshetra (95 µg/m3)
17. Yamuna Nagar (94 µg/m3)
18. Prayagraj (93 µg/m3)
19. Delhi (91 µg/m3)
20. Patna (89 µg/m3)
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.
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.
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
How I Protect Myself
Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.
Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.
For protection against air pollution, check out the Sqair!