World Air Quality Report, 2023

News Excerpt:

According to the latest report, the World Air Quality Report 2023, released by the Swiss organization IQAir, Delhi was the most polluted capital city in the world last year, and the third most polluted city in India in terms of PM (Particulate Matter) 2.5 levels. 

Key highlights of the report:

  • In 2023, Delhi’s annual average PM 2.5 level was 92.7 µg/m3 — placing the Indian national capital at the top of a list of 114 capital cities in the world. 
    • This was followed by Dhaka in Bangladesh, with a PM 2.5 level of 80.2 µg/m3.
    • Delhi’s most polluted month in 2023 was November, with a PM 2.5 level of 255.1 µg/m3, followed by December, with an average of 210 µg/m3 and the cleanest month was August – with an average PM 2.5 concentration of 34.8 µg/m3.
  • Begusarai in Bihar and Guwahati in Assam fared worse than Delhi in terms of annual average PM 2.5 levels. 
    • While Begusarai recorded an average of 118.9 µg/m3 in 2023, Guwahati recorded 105.4 µg/m3.
  • Out of a total of 134 countries, India ranked third with an annual average PM 2.5 level of 54.4 µg/m3, after Bangladesh and Pakistan, both of which had levels over 70 µg/m3.
  • The report estimates that 1.36 billion people in India experience PM 2.5 concentrations exceeding the WHO recommended annual guideline level of 5 µg/m3
    • Furthermore, 1.33 billion, or 96% of the population, experience PM 2.5 levels more than seven times the WHO annual PM 2.5 guideline. 
    • This trend is reflected in city-level data, with more than 66% of the country’s cities reporting annual averages greater than 35 µg/m3.
  • Data in the report also shows that Delhi spent 56% of its annual hours in 2023 at a PM 2.5 level that exceeds WHO guidelines by over 10 times.
  • The report added that exposure to these particles (PM 2.5) has been directly linked to health problems, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, and increased risk of death.
  • Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand met the World Health Organization annual PM 2.5 average of 5µg/m3 or less.


In 2023, air pollution remained a global health catastrophe. IQAir’s global data set provides an important reminder of the resulting injustices and the need to implement the many solutions that exist to this problem.

About Air pollution:

  • Air pollution is estimated to cause one in every nine deaths globally. 
  • As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution has been known to cause around seven million premature deaths each year, mainly affecting individuals with health conditions such as asthma, cancer, and stroke, among others. 
  • It has also been noted that exposure to high levels of PM2.5 can impact the cognitive abilities of children, worsen existing conditions, as well as affect the mental health of individuals.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines suggest that annual average PM 2.5 levels should not exceed 5 µg/m3.

Book A Free Counseling Session