A dust storm lashes Guwahati city | File photo

Light showers on March 20 morning brought some respite for the citizens living in one of world’s most polluted cities – Guwahati. While the Air Quality Index still hovered around 160 – which is categorized as ‘unhealthy’, citizens are still of the disbelief that the air quality in Guwahati is indeed among the world’s worst.

According to a report by Swiss air quality tech company, IQAir, Guwahati was the world’s second most polluted city last year with an average annual PM2.5 concentration of 105.4 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³), which was 21 times the WHO guidelines.

The report placed Guwahati above some of the worst polluted mega cities like Delhi. Begusarai in Bihar was the most polluted worldwide while Delhi took the third place. The average annual PM2.5 concentration in Begusarai was 118.9 (µg/m³). Delhi recorded 102.1 (µg/m³).

Guwahati with an estimated population of 13 lakh was far cleaner in 2022 when its average annual PM2.5 concentration 51 (µg/m³). Concerned citizens attribute the sudden downfall to unabated felling of trees, major construction work and more so to climate change conditions.

Pollution in Guwahati
Pollution in Guwahati

According to Central Pollution Control Board’s daily bulletin on March 19, Guwahati’s last 24 hours average PM2.5 and PM10 concentration was 297, which is 59 times the WHO guidelines.

The IQAir report also highlights India’s overall standing in terms of air quality, placing it as the third most polluted country in 2023, following Bangladesh and Pakistan. Also, with nine out of the top 10 cities Indian, a staggering 42 Indian cities feature in the top 50, underscoring grave concerns about the nation’s air quality.

IQAir report – The News Mill

The report also underscores the dire consequences of air pollution, with an estimated one in every nine deaths worldwide attributed to this environmental threat. According to the WHO, air pollution leads to approximately seven million premature deaths annually. Exposure to PM2.5 pollution exacerbates a range of health conditions, including asthma, cancer, stroke, and lung disease.

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About TNM NewsDesk


The News Mill is a Guwahati-based digital media with focus on content from across Northeast India and beyond. We can be reached through [email protected]