World Air Quality Report 2023

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Delhi was identified as the capital city with the poorest air quality, according to a new report by World Air Quality Report 2023.

About World Air Quality Report 2023

  • It is published by the Swiss organisation IQAir.
  • It included data from 7,812 locations in 134 countries, regions, and territories.
  • Highlights:
    • With an average air annual particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) concentration of 54.4 micrograms per cubic metre, India had the third worst air quality.
    • India was better than only two of its neighbouring countries, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
    • While Bangladesh remained the most polluted country in the world, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 79.9 micrograms per cubic metre, Pakistan was second, with a level of 73.7.
    • It also identified Delhi as the most polluted capital city in the world for the fourth consecutive time. 
    • Bihar's Begusarai was termed the world's most polluted metropolitan area.
    • Ten out of the top 11 most polluted cities in the world are from India, the other being Lahore in Pakistan.
    • 96 percent of the Indian population experiences PM2.5 levels more than seven times the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline.

What is Particulate Matter (PM)?

  • It is made of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air.
  • PM can come from many places. In general, any type of burning or any dust-generating activities are sources of PM. 
  • PM comes in many different sizes.
    • Larger particles come mostly from the soil. Smaller particles come from burning of fossil fuels, like gasoline in cars, diesel in trucks, and coal used by power plants.
  • PM is also divided into primary and secondary categories.
    • Primary PM is directly emitted from a smokestack or a tailpipe. Secondary PM forms downwind from sources of gaseous emissions through chemical reactions.

Q1) What is the National Air Quality Index (AQI)?

Launched by the central government in 2014 as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, the AQI was to help simplify the common understanding of pollution. The AQI transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour. The pollutants measured include PM 10, PM 2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Carbon, etc. The colour-coded AQI index helps the public and the government understand the condition of the air and what subsequent measures are to be taken to combat the situation, based on its severity.

Source: Delhi World's Most Polluted Capital Again, India Has 3rd Worst Air Quality: Report