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Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Mother Nature observed the transformation of verdant regions into contemporary cities and metropolises as the globe embraced urbanization. A series of natural calamities followed, indicating that something is wrong with the world. We can define pollution as the release of hazardous pollutants into the surroundings. These substances are referred to as contaminants. They can be caused by human activities or natural disasters. Pollutants harm the quality of water, air, and land. Pollution is an issue which is stressful worldwide.

Pollution is one of the numerous things that degrade our world, which was previously greener and healthier. Pollution is a hazardous phenomenon that contributes to a variety of health problems.

In today's 21st century pollution is a global challenge. It has exists in numerous forms for a long time. You will be astonished to know that pollution existed right before the existence of mankind. These pollutions were caused due to natural calamities. What threat the world faces today is that, this pollution is increasing day by day without any stop. Rise in the technology and machinery pose to be a great support to this global issue. Pollution is deteriorating the flora and fauna of the world and causes damages to the environment. There are several negative effects caused due to pollution.

Types of Pollution

We can define pollution as an exterior or interior effect that affects the Mother earth and is slowly killing the beauty and pureness present on this mother earth. It damages our natural resources. Pollution affects everything be it human-made or nature-made.

There are three main types of pollution

  • Air Pollution
    Air pollution is the contamination of the atmosphere. This takes place due to the release of dangerous or excessive amounts of chemicals. These chemicals are let into the environment by several different industries. As a result of air pollution many of them are facing chronic disorders. Due to increase in the air pollution the tree's filtering capability is constantly getting low.
  • Water Pollution
    We can define water pollution as gushing of effluents that are harmful into water bodies. These toxic entities cause damage to the aquatic flora as well as the life present in them. This pollution is caused by industries, when they let out their waste into rivers. Water pollution can also be caused due to natural calamities. Whether drinking water is safe or not is a big question to deal now.

    Sources of Water Pollution
  • Industrial effluents Domestic waste
  • Pesticides and insecticides
  • Excessive usage of fertilizers and detergents
  • Soil Pollution
    When there is an excess of land deterioration, we call it soil pollution. The causes of land pollution can be farming, excess use of pesticides, fertilizers, re-dumping waste and much more. Human activities like mining, deforestation, dumping of e-waste and other industrial wastes, and the use of toxic chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides can also provoke soil contamination. A factor that reduces the texture, nutrients and minerals present in the soil is termed as a soil pollutant. Furthermore, soil contamination hurts plant development. Soil contamination is typically caused by the presence of man-made applications such as percolation of contaminated surface water, pesticides, fuel dumping, and oil dumping, and so on.

    Sources of Soil Pollution
  • Increase in the consumption of fertilizers.
  • Excessive use of insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides.
  • Solid waste disposal
  • Cutting of trees i.e. deforestation
  • Noise Pollution
    Noise pollution is caused by excessive noise produced in the surroundings. Noise pollution is caused because of the usage of machinery, loudspeakers, microphones, and many others. During festivals like Diwali, we face air as well as noise pollution. Noise pollution is so pervasive in today's culture that we frequently fail to notice it. Traffic noise, construction noise, loud music, air traffic noise, and railway noise are all prominent sources of noise pollution.

    Sources of Noise Pollution
  • Road Traffic Sounds from Buses, Cars, and Other Vehicles
  • Construction implies heavy machinery activities, drilling, and so forth.
  • Fans, generators, mills, and other industrial noises
  • Airport noises from planes taking off or landing

After understanding the pollution circumstances let us learn about how pollution is spread worldwide.

Here is a list of the top most polluted cities in the world-

1.   Lahore, Pakistan

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

During the winter season, the air condition in Lahore often worsens. That is from the months of October to February. This condition of the air worsens as the nearby farmers’ burn their leftovers. This burning causes smoke and results into pollution.

On IQAir AirVisual's live rankings, Lahore always gets the first or second position for most polluted city across the globe. After Pakistan’s smog season Lahore is consistently becoming more polluted.

The air pollution in Lahore is a mixture of industrial emissions; smoke from brick kilns other residues etc. Many large-scale polluting sources are construction sites.

Lahore takes the following measures to reduce pollution:

  • Real-time air quality data must be shared with individuals. If people come to know the amount of toxic air they breathe they will understand and take measures to prevent air pollution.
  • Improving air quality also requires reducing industrial and vehicular emissions. Prime Minister Imran Khan has reminded his cabinet that combating air pollution is a top priority, and officials have made steps to limit emissions from brick kilns.
  • Individuals may minimize personal emissions in their everyday lives by carpooling or utilizing public transportation, actively converting to greener fuel options, and more.

2.   Delhi, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

We all have heard in news or from other sources that Delhi is one of the most polluted cities of India. According to an analysis conducted by WHO, out of well-known cities, Delhi ranks in top 10 cities that face chronic diseases due to pollution. It also has a great impact on surrounding areas of Delhi. It is predicted that every year air pollution can kill over 2-3 million people in India. Another death cause is thus added.

The research of WHO states that India records highest deaths due to chronic respiratory disorders caused because of pollution. COVID-19 lockdown proved to be a boon for the people in Delhi, as the condition of water and air pollution came under control. Unfortunately after lockdown it is increasing rapidly.

3.   Dhaka, Bangladesh

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

As Dhaka is a densely populated metropolis, it is exposed to the air-polluting impacts of the vast usage of vehicles, motorcycles, and trucks, many others. As a result, many of these cars pollute the environment significantly more than a typical automobile, frequently relying on fossil fuels like diesel, which emits greater quantities of toxins into the air than its cleaner competitors.

There is also the city's industrial side, which contributes to the city's ever-increasing pollution levels. The enormously high amounts of pollution are caused by factories or manufacturing facilities such as brick kilns.

4. Ghaziabad, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Cities such as Delhi, Noida, and Ghaziabad are the most polluted since they are located on the Indo-Gangetic plain, and when winter approaches, emissions from different activities such as biomass burning, etc. become trapped as the inversion layer drops and the wind becomes very quiet.

Furthermore, the influence of fire counts worsens the general air quality of this region since it gets in the way of the winds that transport stubble emissions. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board or UPPC has listed that building debris and unpaved are the major reasons that pose threat to the environment. Industrial and automobile pollutants, as well as open-air waste burning, are all contributing to poor air quality.

The added input of pollution from local sources such as transportation, biofuel, and manufacturing aggravates the already stale environment.

5. Muzaffarnagar, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Outdoor air pollution in Muzaffarnagar is mostly caused by solid, liquid particles known as aerosols and gases emitted by cars, building activities, industries, burning stubble and fossil fuels, and wildfire. As winter approaches, air pollution levels continue to rise. People are also experiencing difficulty in breathing as a result of increased air pollutants. Carbon monoxide levels in the air also increased with a rate of 50 times than its original.

In recent days, the number of dust particles stayed at 500 from morning to night. The explanation for the high pollution levels is said to be the city's excavation of 450 km of roadways and the lack of dust management methods.

6. Peshawar, Pakistan

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

According to the research, the primary causes of pollution in Peshawar include transportation, industry, residential solid-fuel use, municipal garbage burning, and dust. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of registered cars in Peshawar increased by 85 percent, with motorcycles experiencing the greatest rise.

Peshawar also has the biggest concentration of industry and creates the most solid waste in the province. Air pollution in the city is caused by the consumption of different fossil fuels in these industries, as well as burning activities. Transport emissions account for more than half of these sources, followed by dust, the household sector, industry, waste-burning, and commercial activities.

7. Aguascalientes, Mexico

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Aguascalientes, Mexico, was formerly dubbed as the world's most polluted city, but according to IQAir, a Swiss firm that monitors air quality in places across the world, Mexico City has now slid down to the world's most polluted city in 2022. This city's population and urbanized area increased dramatically over the twentieth century as it drew migrants from other areas of the country and industrialization drove economic expansion. Population growth, increased motorization, industrial activity, a restricted basin, and high sun radiation all contributed to severe air-quality concerns caused by both primary and secondary pollution.

Apart from air pollution, the Aguascalientes metropolitan area lives a luxurious lifestyle. Winds are weak inside the basin due to mountains sheltering on most sides. In terms of air pollution, the cool season has large surface inversions and greater morning peaks of main pollutants. The warm season has higher UV radiation and so more pollution. Drier conditions result in higher aerosol loadings from dust and biomass burning. The rainy season has reduced PM10 and carbon monoxide levels, but high ozone levels remain owing to intensive photochemistry before the afternoon rains.

8. Hapur, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

The air pollution in Delhi has dominated the news, but what have gone unreported are the pollution situations in Uttar Pradesh's Hapur city. The air quality is far worse than it is in Delhi. This metropolis has transformed into a gas chamber in recent days, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) ranging from 'Very Poor' to 'Severe.'

9. Lucknow, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Few reasons for increase in the pollution level in Lucknow are as follows- Population expansion, urbanization, and the fast increase in energy use are key contributors to air pollution. This pollution's impacts have resulted in poor urban air quality in Lucknow. Emissions are to blame for air pollution in transit, industrial, and residential activities, and other road dust re-suspension, construction sites etc. continue to contribute in Lucknow’s pollution.

Biomass, crop residues, municipal solid waste, garbage and unauthorized fuel-burning activities functioning of diesel generator sets in the event of a power outage. The primary sources of air pollution in Lucknow city include vehicular which contributes 5%. Then we have 87% of road dust. The construction and demolition operational sites contribute depending on different areas. Garbage burning contributes 2% whereas agricultural waste burning too contributes 2%.

10. Patna, India

Top 10 Polluted Cities in the World

Patna is getting polluted because of garbage burning emissions. It is due to lack of solid waste segregation and management. Road dust, automotive emissions, home fuel burning, open rubbish burning, construction activity, industrial emissions, and other factors contribute significantly to air pollution in Patna.

Particulate Matter has been designated as the primary air contaminant since it exceeds national guidelines. This is mostly due to road dust suspension, vehicle emissions, building operations, and household fossil fuel combustion; open burning of solid wastes, transportation of construction materials like sand, dirt, and so on without covering, and emission from brick kilns in the Patna area. NO2 levels have also been found to be worrying. This is primarily due to automobile pollution. Increased NO2 levels are caused by the usage of older automobiles and traffic congestion. It has been noted that Patna's air quality gets particularly bad and severe during the winter season due to the condensation of tiny particulate matter in the lower sections of the atmosphere.