The Indian capital, home to more than 20 million people, was followed by the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka and Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, according to the study by IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally, and Greenpeace. It measures the levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 - a deadly pollutant that can get into lungs and cause serious health problems.
It added that air pollution is likely to cause the death of around seven million lives globally in the next year, and will cost the world's economy almost $225 billion.
India, the world's fastest-growing major economy, has not made much progress in terms of curbing air pollution even in 2018. Nagpur, the third most polluting city in the state, saw a decrease in the pollutant's level - from 56.2 mpcm in 2017 to 46.6 mpcm in 2018.
The report said, "The city ranking shows Asian locations dominating the highest 100 average PM2.5 levels during 2018, with cities in India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh occupying the top 50 cities". Shockingly - or maybe we really shouldn't be that surprised - India hosts 15 of the world's 20 most polluted cities. The reports highlight that 64% of these cities already exceed the current standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
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The report blamed pollution in Southeast Asia on the burning of biomass and vehicular emissions. Data from a selection of validated outdoor IQAir AirVisual air quality monitors operated by private individuals and organisations have also been included. Accompanying the report is an extended display of all the cities on the most-polluted list and their relative air qualities across different regions and sub-regions in 2018.
"Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures, but we can change that". However, the number of Chinese cities with high pollution is still substantial.
But critics have accused his administration of failing to adequately address environmental issues, including air pollution, and criticised New Delhi's recently-minted National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as insufficient. This has also created demand for air quality monitoring in cities or regions where no public data is available.