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:
View of Delhi through a nearly permanent haze. Source: New East West
Commuters travel to work in the thick smog of the morning. Source: Quartz
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
These aren’t soap bubbles; they’re industrial and residential waste particles. Source: Business Insider
Pollutants cause the Yamuna River to foam. Source: Daily Mail
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
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
Many citizens share public water supplies. Source: Japan Times
Garbage heaps are a common sight in the Indian capital. Source: Vet Help Direct
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
Construction leaves behind dusty fields that add more particulate matter to the air when they aren’t replanted. Source: Flickr
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
Citizens wear masks in a futile attempt to protect themselves from air pollution. Source: Indian Express
Alternative stoves are being introduced in an attempt to provide cleaner burning fuel and improve health. Source: The Better India
Biomass stoves contribute to greenhouse gas emissions because they produce carbon monoxide and methane. Source: Lowe Tech Magazine
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
A Hindu devotee says prayers in the polluted Yamuna River. Source: Quartz
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