Top 10 Most Polluted Cities Worldwide in 2024: Causes, Effects, Solutions

Top 10 Most Polluted Cities Worldwide: Causes, Effects, Solutions

The world is evolving daily with new technology, developments, and growth. This causes our environment to face critical issues. It needs immediate attention. The growing pollution is a threat to human life and the environment. This problem is serious in many commercial cities around the world. Every year, heavy fog, harmful gases released from factories, vehicles, etc., polluted water, and noise pollution are increasing. Cities like Delhi, Lahore, Dhaka, and others are struggling with challenges in the fight against pollution. It is affecting the health of citizens. It has become necessary to solve the cause of the problem in these cities to clear the path for a cleaner, healthier future for all.


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1. Delhi, India

Delhi, the capital of India, is the third most polluted city. The city is regularly breaking its air quality limits. It is because of construction dust, industry pollution, and vehicle emissions. Delhi, India, has an air quality index (AQI) of 390 as of May 3rd, 2024. The PM2.5 and PM10 levels in the air are 216 and 376 µg/m³, respectively. There is a 23˚C temperature. The current population, which is 33,807,000, is struggling with serious health problems. The pollution is affecting the soil quality of Delhi and nearby cities. 


2. Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan. With a population of 13 million, it is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The air quality recorded on May 3rd, 2024, was 256, and the real-time PM2.5 level was 123 µg/m³.  In winter, the pollution level is dangerously high. Because of the poor air quality, citizens are at high risk for health problems. This population is because of activities like fuel emissions from factories and other sources and tree-cutting.


3. Khujand, Tajikistan

The second largest country in Tajikistan is in the Fergana Valley. The city’s dependence on old cars and industry worsens the air and water quality. They must take the environmental laws seriously. Residents of Khujand face high health risks from air pollution. Levels of pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter are above recommended levels. The air quality index (AQI) was 131 on January 6th, 2024. The PM2.5 level was 64 µg/m³.  


4. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, one of the world’s largest cities, is struggling with severe air pollution. The growing population and continuous development are affecting the environment. Traffic, burning carbon dioxide, industrial pollution, and dust particles in the air disturb the lives of residents. Dhaka, Bangladesh’s air quality index (AQI) is 208. The PM2.5 level is 92 µg/m³, and the temperature is 39°C on May 3rd, 2024. 


5. Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is the most lively capital of Nepal, but it is among the most polluted cities in the world. Because of the air pollution, the citizens are suffering from health problems. Pollution has affected this beautiful valley. Industrial processes, fast development, geographic influences, and vehicular emissions are some of the reasons for the environmental issues. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Kathmandu, Nepal, is 181. The real-time PM2.5 air pollution is 81 µg/m³. It was recorded on May 3rd, 2024. 


6. Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is a dream city for many. The population is 12.5 million, and are suffering from serious pollution problems. The air quality of Mumbai (AQI) is 128, with a PM2.5 level of 28 µg/m³. The pollution level is worse here, because of its seaside location. Residents often complain of having problems with respiration and other medical conditions.


7. Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Chiang Mai is located in a lush green landscape in northern Thailand. Behind this perfect scenery, air pollution is an environmental threat to the city. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Chiang Mai, it is 155. The real-time air pollution PM2.5 concentration is 83 µg/m³. The main cause of the air pollution in the city is agricultural operations. The farmers use old cuts and burns to clear land for crops. It also raises the level of particles in the air. These particles are dangerous to the health of visitors and locals.


8. Dakar, Senegal 

The capital city of Senegal, Dakar, is on the western coast of Africa. Ongoing development, industry, and terrible waste handling are raising pollution levels. It makes life hard for the residents. On May 3, 2024, the PM2.5 concentration in Dakar, Senegal, was 42.6 µg/m³. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 118. Another issue is water pollution. Without realising that dumping unwanted solid waste is polluting their waterways. And they have poor water treatment facilities, which makes the situation even worse.


9. Wujiaqu, China

Wujiaqu is in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. Wujiaqu is in a region known for industry and fast economic growth. It faces pollution from many sources. Industrial emissions from coal-fired power plants and factories are a big part of the city’s pollution. Additionally, cars and construction worsen air quality. They cause high levels of particulate matter and other pollutants in the air. As of January 4, 2024, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Wujiaqu, China, was 117. The PM2.5 concentration was 42 µg/m³.


10. Kolkata, India

India’s cultural capital, Kolkata, faces serious pollution problems that harm citizen’s health. Kolkata is in the east of the country. It has several environmental problems. Air and water pollution are the main ones. The city has a high population density and is situated in a disadvantageous location. This affects the air a lot. It is due to industry, the burning of biomass, and vehicle emissions. On May 3, 2024, Kolkata’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was 119. The PM2.5 concentration is 43 µg/m³.



These cities are on the list of the world’s top 10 most polluted cities. They are a threat, not only  for their residents and eco-system but also for the neighbouring cities and areas. The government should take the necessary steps to overcome this issue. 

As individuals, anyone can do this by supporting campaigns to cut pollution in their areas. Follow the rules and regulations to keep the surroundings clean. We can reduce pollution by working together and protecting the environment for future generations.


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