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The World’s 20 Most Polluted Cities in 2018

Health + Wellness
Brick factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is the world's most polluted country on average, according to a new report. Andre Vogelaere / Moment Open / Getty Images

The latest data on the world's most polluted cities is out, and confirms that Asia has a major crisis on its hands when it comes to air pollution.

The report, released by Greenpeace and software company IQAir AirVisual, shows that 22 of the world's 30 most polluted cities are in India. Five are in China, two in Pakistan and one is the capital of Bangladesh: Dhaka.


While India dominates the list numerically, Bangladesh is actually the world's most polluted country on average when weighted by population, followed by India and Pakistan, The New York Times reported.

The report looked at 2018 air quality data assessing levels of particulate matter PM2.5, a particularly dangerous form of air pollution that has been linked to a growing number of health problems from pneumonia and heart disease to dementia and diabetes.

The report assessed 3,000 cities and found that 64 percent of them had PM2.5 levels higher than World Health Organization (WHO) safety guidelines, according to The Guardian. Every city in Africa and the Middle East exceeded the guidelines, as well as 99 percent of South Asian cities and 89 percent of East Asian cities. The study estimates that air pollution will cause seven million early deaths next year, CNN reported.

"Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures, but we can change that," Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Yeb Saño told The Guardian. "We want this report to make people think about the air we breathe, because when we understand the impacts of air quality on our lives, we will act to protect what's most important."

The report indicated that China was having some success in its war on pollution. PM2.5 levels fell around 12 percent for the Chinese cities listed in the report between 2017 and 2018, The New York Times reported. India, however, has had less success. Its cities' pollution levels saw relatively no change between the two years.

"We're still in denial," Jai Dhar Gupta, founder of Indian pollution mask company Nirvana Being, told The New York Times. "The priority for 99 percent of Indians is necessities: food, shelter and clothing. Health and environment are not even in the top 10."

Here are the world's 100 most polluted cities according to the report, as summarized by CNN:

1. Gurugram, India

2. Ghaziabad, India

3. Faisalabad, Pakistan

4. Faridabad, India

5. Bhiwadi, India

6. Noida, India

7. Patna, India

8. Hotan, China

9. Lucknow, India

10. Lahore, Pakistan

11. Delhi, India

12. Jodhpur, India

13. Muzaffarpur, India

14. Varanasi, India

15. Moradabad, India

16. Agra, India

17. Dhaka, Bangladesh

18. Gaya, India

19. Kashgar, China

20. Jind, India

21. Kanpur, India

22. Singrauli, India

23. Kolkata, India

24. Pali, India

25. Rohtak, India

26. Mandi Gobindgarh, India

27. Xingtai Shi, China

28. Shijiazhuang, China

29. Ahmedabad, India

30. Aksu, China

31. Handan, China

32. Anyang, China

33. Baoding, China

34. Linfen, China

35. Wujiaqu, China

36. Xianyang, China

37. Jaipur, India

38. Jiaozuo, China

39. Hengshui Shi, China

40. Xuzhou, China

41. Cangzhou Shi, China

42. Pingdingshan, China

43. Kaifeng, China

44. Asansol, India

45. Howrah, India

46. Xuchang, China

47. Zhengzhou, China

48. Tangshan, China

49. Puyang, China

50. Luohe, China

51. Shangqiu, China

52. Kabul, Afghanistan

53. Xinxiang, China

54. Shihezi, China

55. Laiwu, China

56. Nanyang, China

57. Amritsar, India

58. Xiangyang, China

59. Zhumadian, China

60. Liaocheng, China

61. Heze, China

62. Kizilsu, China

63. Xian, China

64. Luoyang, China

65. Yuncheng, China

66. Jincheng, China

67. Manama, Bahrain

68. Urumqi, China

69. Yangquan, China

70. Zhoukou, China

71. Mumbai, India

72. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

73. Huaibei, China

74. Weinan, China

75. Mandideep, India

76. Talcher, India

77. Suzhou, China

78. Zaozhuang, China

79. Sanmenxia, China

80. Bozhou, China

81. Zigong, China

82. Jalandhar, India

83. Jingmen, China

84. Panchkula, India

85. Turpan, China

86. Kuwait City, Kuwait

87. Zibo, China

88. Taiyuan, China

89. Langfang, China

90. Binzhou, China

91. Hebi, China

92. Lukavac, Bosnia-Herzegovina

93. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

94. Udaipur, India

95. Ludhiana, India

96. Changji, China

97. Dezhou, China

98. Huainan, China

99. Fuyang, China

100. Kathmandu, Nepal

Correction: This post has been revised to say that air pollution will cause an estimated seven million early deaths next year, according to the study, not seven billion.

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