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This Is What Delhi, The World’s Most Polluted City Looks Like

Most Polluted City

Smog frequently blankets Delhi. Source: News East West

Beijing can rest easier for the moment, as it is no longer the most polluted city in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), that dubious honor goes to Delhi, India. It’s estimated that the city’s air pollution kills 10,500 people in the city every year.

The study analyzed the peak levels of fine particulate matter in the ambient (outside) air. It determined that the highest level of airborne particulate matter of PM2.5 (smaller than 2.5 microns) clocked in at 153 micrograms, which is significantly higher than any other city in the world. For example, Beijing, once considered one of the world’s most polluted cities, has a PM2.5 concentration of only 56 micrograms. Delhi’s level is six times the WHO’s recommended maximum and twelve times U.S. standards.

Here’s a glimpse at what that lethal atmosphere looks like:

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Most Polluted City Smog

View of Delhi through a nearly permanent haze. Source: New East West

Commuters Walking

Commuters travel to work in the thick smog of the morning. Source: Quartz

Trash Mountain

Delhi produces 9,000 tons of trash every day and has very few places to put it. However, 50% of the city’s waste is fit for composting, which could solve some of the storage issues. Source: Sebastian Chatelier

Most Polluted City Yamuna River Pollution

These aren’t soap bubbles; they’re industrial and residential waste particles. Source: Business Insider

Most Polluted City Yamuna River

Pollutants cause the Yamuna River to foam. Source: Daily Mail

Most Polluted City Yamuna River Offerings

The Yamuna is important to observant Hindus who make offerings in the river. The government has encouraged them to use biodegradable and natural materials that won’t harm the water. Source: Daily Mail

Most Polluted City Worker Churns Sludge

This man churns sewage for a living, and does so without proper protective equipment. Building an efficient sewage system can help improve the environment in the city and the livelihoods of its citizens. Source: University Of Texas

Public Water Supply Bathing

Many citizens share public water supplies. Source: Japan Times

Kathputli Slum

Source: ABC

Slum Dogs

Garbage heaps are a common sight in the Indian capital. Source: Vet Help Direct

Presidential Palace

The presidential palace is obscured by air pollution. The skies are cleaned up during the rainy season, but the dry winters keep the smog in place. Source: News East West

Most Polluted City Work In Progress

Construction leaves behind dusty fields that add more particulate matter to the air when they aren’t replanted. Source: Flickr

Most Polluted City Commuter Train

Commuters pack on top of a train outside of Delhi. India’s rising population makes it difficult to provide efficient transport, sanitary housing and clean water to all people, as it grows faster than the current infrastructure. Source: Quartz

Most Polluted City Traffic


Face Masks Students

Citizens wear masks in a futile attempt to protect themselves from air pollution. Source: Indian Express

Oorja Alternative

Alternative stoves are being introduced in an attempt to provide cleaner burning fuel and improve health. Source: The Better India

Indoor Biomass Stove

Biomass stoves contribute to greenhouse gas emissions because they produce carbon monoxide and methane. Source: Lowe Tech Magazine

Clean India Mission

Prime Minister Modi shows his constituents how to use a broom to help clean the streets as part of the Clean India Mission. Source: India Mission

Most Polluted City Yamuna River

A Hindu devotee says prayers in the polluted Yamuna River. Source: Quartz

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Alejandro Duran Turns Trash Into An Incredible Art Project

Toothbrushes Alejandro Duran

Source: Bored Panda

We must look no further than the nasty, thousand-mile-wide strip of decomposing plastic in the northern Pacific Ocean to know that our world is becoming more polluted. Yet artist Alejandro Duran doesn’t let this reality deter his creative process; rather, this reality incites it.

Rounding up oceanic debris found along Mexican coast lines, Duran upcycles it into art that’s anything but wasteful. Site-specific and color-driven, these pieces compose Washed Up, a refreshing project that begins with trash and ends with a beautiful, thought-provoking installation.

Lightbulbs Upcycled as Art

Source: Slip Talk

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You Won’t Believe How Bad Pollution In China Has Become

With a newly-minted elite and an economic growth rate of over 10 percent, the environment has taken a backseat in China, the world’s most populous country. Growing pollution has led to unusable waterways, increased incidence of birth defects, and some of the dirtiest air on earth. It’s so nasty that there’s now a word for it: “smogpocalypse”.

With that said, China is not oblivious to its ecological impacts, and according to the Harvard Business Review “is taking this challenge much more seriously than others… doing things differently, making longer-term, sustained commitments that are much larger.” In 2010, China ranked as the world’s leading investor in low-carbon energy technology, which makes sense given national political leaders’ tendency to view clean energy as a great economic opportunity.

The following photographs prove that economic growth indeed comes at a cost, and one whose long-term effects remain unclear:

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Boy Swimming In Algal Blooms

A boy swims in dense algal blooms in Qingdao, which are caused by excessive agricultural runoff and lead to 'dead zones' that become inhospitable for both flora and fauna.

Pollution In China Jianhe River

A journalist takes a sample of the Jianhe River, which has become red from chemical plants illegally dumping untreated waste water directly into a local stream.

Industrial Pollution

Scientists recently warned that air pollution in China has become so severe that it could lead to the equivalent of a nuclear winter across the country.

Algae Lake Hefei China

Pressure on local resources has created a country-wide issue with clean water. Here, a lake in Hefei contains a sizable surface layer of pollutants and algae.

Oil Spill In China

In 2010, a blast in an oil storage facility in Dalian led to over 400 million gallons of oil being spilled. For comparison's sake, that's over four times the size of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Pollution In China Smog

On January 12, 2013, air quality index levels in Beijing were so hazardous that they were beyond existing measurement.

Water Pollution In China

Residents look at the heavily polluted river that cuts through the city of Zhugao in Sichuan province.

Pollution in China Oil Spill

As China's demand for energy has soared, the incidence of oil spills and gas-related pollution will only increase

Pollution In China Beijing Air Pollution

Air pollution has become so problematic that school and work closures due to smog are a regular occurrence in major cities.

Swimming In A Polluted Lake

Trash collection and disposal is more of a luxury than a fact of life. In rural areas, local bodies of water act as the de facto location for garbage disposal.

Pollution In China Industrial Waste

China burns around half the world's coal, reaching 3.8 billion tons in 2011

Pollution In China Photographs

According to Greenpeace, Beijing experienced 2,589 deaths and a loss of US$328 million in 2012 because of PM2.5 pollution.

China Environment Kid Playing With Electronics

Over the last decade, China has become a global dumping ground for the world's discarded electronics. Above, a boy sits in a pile of waste at a scrapping ground.

Buildings Covered In Smog

From Wired: By 2030, China’s carbon dioxide emissions could equal the entire world’s CO2 production today, if the country’s carbon usage keeps pace with its economic growth.

Man In Oil Slude In Liaonin Province

A fisherman wades through the oil spill in Dalian.

Jiaxing City

Three quarters of Chinese cite environmental problems as a national security threat, according to a 2009 study by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation

Smog In Beijing

According to the World Bank, China is home to 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.

Dead Fish From Pollution

A local man collects fish that have died from exposure to water pollution.

Green Water

Two thirds of China’s cities don’t meet the country’s own air emissions standards.

China Pollution

From The New York Times: Only 1% of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air that is deemed safe by European Union standards.

Fuyuan China

A young boy drinks water from a stream filled with refuse in Fuyuan, China.

Fishing In Polluted Water

Every year, 750,000 Chinese die prematurely from pollution.

Dead Fish

In 2007, Chinese officials announced that over one third of fish species native to the Yellow River are now extinct because of damming or pollution.

Barges In Polluted River

According to the Asia Water Project, 90% of China’s urban groundwater is contaminated.

Chinese Pollution Fish

By its own governmental projections, China will have exploited all of the country’s available water supplies by 2030

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We also recommend that you check out these videos by Vice about the severity of pollution in China:

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