10 Most Polluted Cities in India with AQI Analysis

India, a country of diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, faces a formidable challenge in air pollution. The adverse effects of polluted air on health and well-being have become a pressing concern, particularly in urban areas. This extensive article will explore India’s top 10 most polluted cities, shedding light on the Air Quality Index (AQI) readings and the multifaceted environmental challenges these regions face.

10 Most Polluted Cities In India with AQI Levels

City AQI Key Factors Contributing to Pollution
Delhi 388
  • Vehicular emissions
  • Industrial activities
  • Agricultural residue burning
  • Burning of municipal waste
Bikaner 377
  • Industrial emissions
  • Dust particles due to arid climate
Bhiwadi 362
  • Rapid industrial growth
  • Manufacturing and chemical production emissions
Hanumangarh 360
  • Agricultural practices including crop residue burning
  • Vehicular emissions
Noida 358
  • Urbanization
  • Industrial activities
  • Construction dust
  • Vehicular emissions
Greater Noida 356
  • Industrial growth
  • Vehicular traffic
  • Urbanization challenges
Meerut 355
  • Industrial activities
  • Vehicular emissions
Rajgir 345
  • Tourism-related vehicular traffic
  • Infrastructure construction
Arrah 342
  • Agricultural practices
  • Industrial activities
  • Urbanization
Manesar 339
  • Industrial emissions
  • Vehicular traffic

1. Delhi – AQI: 388


The national capital, Delhi, stands at the forefront of India’s battle against air pollution. With an alarming AQI of 388, the city grapples with severe challenges in managing its air quality. Factors such as vehicular emissions, industrial activities, and agricultural residue burning contribute significantly to the deteriorating air quality in Delhi.

Delhi, often called the world’s most polluted city, has witnessed a steady increase in air pollution levels. The city’s geographical and meteorological factors, coupled with high population density, exacerbate the impact of pollution. Vehicular emissions, particularly from a massive fleet of vehicles, contribute substantially to the air’s fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels.

Moreover, industrial activities in and around Delhi add to the pollution burden. The city’s struggle with managing waste, including burning municipal solid waste, further deteriorates the air quality. Despite implementing various measures, such as the Odd-Even scheme and the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), Delhi continues to face a daunting task in effectively curbing pollution.

2. Bikaner – AQI: 377


Bikaner, a vibrant city in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, faces an AQI of 377. At the same time, known for its cultural heritage, including magnificent forts and palaces, the city grapples with air pollution challenges primarily due to industrial emissions and dust particles.

The industrial landscape of Bikaner, which includes manufacturing and processing units, contributes significantly to air pollution. The release of pollutants into the air, coupled with the region’s arid climate, leads to the suspension of dust particles in the atmosphere, further affecting air quality.

Efforts are underway in Bikaner to implement sustainable practices and regulations to address this pressing issue. The city’s authorities are exploring cleaner technologies, promoting green energy initiatives, and enhancing dust control measures to mitigate the impact of industrial and environmental factors on air quality.

3. Bhiwadi – AQI: 362


Bhiwadi, an emerging industrial hub in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, faces an AQI of 362. As industries in Bhiwadi continue to grow rapidly, the city grapples with the consequences of industrialization on air quality. The need for effective waste management and emission control measures is evident in the city’s struggle to combat rising pollution levels.

Industries in Bhiwadi, which span manufacturing, processing, and chemical production, release pollutants into the air. These emissions, including particulate matter and various pollutants, contribute to the overall deterioration of air quality. Bhiwadi’s challenge lies in balancing its industrial growth with sustainable environmental practices to ensure a healthier living environment for its residents.

4. Hanumangarh – AQI: 360


Situated on the banks of the Ghaggar River in Rajasthan, Hanumangarh contends with an AQI of 360. Despite its agricultural richness, the city faces air pollution challenges from agricultural practices and vehicular emissions. Agricultural activities, including burning crop residues, significantly impact air quality.

In addition to agricultural factors, vehicular emissions from a growing number of vehicles on Hanumangarh’s roads add to the pollution burden. The city is adopting sustainable agricultural practices and exploring alternatives to crop burning to address its environmental challenges.

5. Noida – AQI: 358


Noida, a satellite city of Delhi and part of the National Capital Region (NCR), contends with an AQI of 358. This highlights the interconnectedness of pollution in the NCR, where urbanization, industrial activities, and construction projects contribute to the challenges faced by Noida in maintaining air quality standards.

The rapid urban development in Noida, characterized by an influx of industries and a growing population, has led to increased pollution levels. Vehicular emissions, industrial activities, and construction dust contribute to the fine particulate matter in the air.

Efforts are underway in Noida to address these challenges, including implementing pollution control measures and sustainable urban development practices. Collaboration between government bodies, industries, and the public is crucial for effective solutions to mitigate pollution in the city.

6. Greater Noida – AQI: 356

Greater Noida

Adjacent to Noida, Greater Noida shares similar challenges with an AQI of 356. The city, designed as a planned urban development, faces the dual challenge of accommodating rapid urbanization while maintaining environmental sustainability.

The growth of industries in Greater Noida and increased vehicular traffic pose significant hurdles for the city in achieving sustainable air quality levels. Implementing stricter emission norms, sustainable transportation solutions, and green urban planning are essential for Greater Noida’s environmental well-being.

Urban planning plays a crucial role in mitigating pollution in Greater Noida, and the city is exploring innovative solutions, such as green spaces, efficient waste management, and sustainable transportation options, to ensure a balance between development and environmental preservation.

7. Meerut – AQI: 355


Meerut, an ancient city with a rich historical background, grapples with an AQI of 355. The city’s historical significance is juxtaposed against the challenges of industrial growth and vehicular emissions.

Industrial activities, including manufacturing and processing units, contribute significantly to air pollution in Meerut. The release of pollutants into the air, combined with emissions from a growing number of vehicles, impacts the overall air quality in the city.

Collaborative efforts involving industries, civic bodies, and the public are essential for implementing effective solutions to combat pollution in Meerut. The city is exploring ways to balance its industrial growth with sustainable practices, including adopting cleaner technologies and promoting green initiatives.

8. Rajgir – AQI: 345


Rajgir, known for its historical significance and cultural heritage, faces an AQI of 345. The city, nestled in the Nalanda district of Bihar, grapples with preserving its historical charm while addressing environmental concerns.

The city’s tourism industry, which attracts visitors to its ancient ruins and natural landscapes, contributes to pollution through increased vehicular traffic. Construction activities related to infrastructure development also play a role in releasing pollutants into the air.

Rajgir is exploring ways to promote sustainable tourism and adopt environmentally friendly construction practices to minimize its impact on air quality. The city’s delicate balance between heritage preservation and environmental sustainability requires a thoughtful and integrated approach.

9. Arrah – AQI: 342


Arrah, a city in Bihar with a historical and cultural heritage, contends with an AQI 342. The city’s challenges related to air pollution stem from a combination of agricultural practices, industrial activities, and increasing urbanization.

Agricultural practices, including burning crop residues, contribute to releasing pollutants into the air. The city’s industrial landscape, including manufacturing and processing units, increases pollution. The growth of urban areas and the associated increase in vehicular traffic further impact air quality in Arrah.

Implementing sustainable practices in agriculture, promoting eco-friendly industries, and adopting measures to control vehicular emissions are crucial steps toward mitigating pollution in Arrah. The city is working on initiatives to address these challenges and create a more sustainable living environment.

10. Manesar – AQI: 339


As an industrial town in the Gurugram district of Haryana, Manesar faces an AQI of 339. The city’s industrial growth, characterized by manufacturing units and processing industries, has increased pollution levels.

The release of pollutants from industrial activities, coupled with the rise in vehicular traffic, contributes to the deterioration of air quality in Manesar. The city is adopting cleaner technologies, implementing strict emission norms, and exploring sustainable industrial practices to address these environmental challenges.


The alarming AQI readings in these ten cities underscore the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to combat air pollution in India. While each city faces unique challenges, common themes include industrial emissions, vehicular pollution, and the need for sustainable urban development.

Collaborative efforts from government bodies, industries, and the public are crucial for implementing effective solutions and creating a healthier and more sustainable future for these cities. The interplay of industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural practices highlights the complexity of addressing air pollution in a diverse country like India.

A collective commitment to environmental stewardship is essential, encompassing sustainable practices, technological innovations, and community involvement. The fight against air pollution requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating policy interventions, technological advancements, and a shared responsibility for the well-being of communities and the planet.

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