India stands out from the rest of the world for having air quality that is consistently and shockingly terrible.

WHO reported after studying measurements and calculations from stations monitoring air quality in more than 4300 cities reported that India's cities suffer the most.

It was observed that India has 11 of the 12 most toxic cities regarding air quality. Bamenda in Cameroon is the only city in the top 12 that is not in India.

The city Kanpur in India, a city of more than 3 million people, is at the top of the list with an annual mean of 320 micrograms per meters cubic of PM2.5. PM2,5 is the most dangerous particle that is frequently measured. PM2.5 particles come from open fire and oil exhaust which penetrates the lung deeper and can remain in the air for a long time.

It has become clear that India is among the riskiest countries to live in.

Toxic levels of pollution in India coming from forest fires to vehicles to coal burning and burning wood for cooking hit most of India. Mountains and hills in India also act as barriers that confine noxious air over large parts of the country which makes the air quality too hazardous to breathe.

Pollution in Delhi, the capital of India, which is home to 20 million people, is infamous for so much toxic air that its beautiful white walls of marble of the famous Taj Mahal are becoming green.

In 2017 the pollution in Delhi was so bad that flights were canceled, schools were closed caused traffic accidents and sparked protests. The city even announced a public health emergency as even one minister described the city as a "gas chamber."

Although many other Indian cities are also dealing with harsh air pollution too, many of the particles that cover the cities originate from rural areas. Rural areas are in fact affected more by the low quality of air.

1.1 million people from the rural areas in India died from air pollution. That is 75% of air pollution deaths in the whole country.

More than two-thirds of the population in India live in the outskirts of the major cities, and more than 81 percent of the homes in the rural areas rely on wood and manure for heating and food preparation. Agricultural methods like burning harvest stubble are also widespread.

The smoke from these methods then drifts over to major cities like Mumbai and Chennai, where it blends with traffic emissions, industrial discharges, and construction particles. This leaves very few areas in India where people can breathe easy.

Using stoves indoors is especially bad for children. Mothers from households that used dung and wood as fuel are likely to give birth to underweight babies. The children were also more likely to be infected with tuberculosis or even develop asthma.

The pollution levels in dozens of these cities are finally being mapped and detailed for the first time which means the problem has finally gathered some attention. And with more reports and measurements the pollution levels in India will likely seem worse before it gets better. But the information gathering is critical to fighting against air pollution in India.

Author's Bio: 

Hey there, I’m Nancy and I’m absolutely in love with food and health blogs. I’m on a mission to share my insider cooking, food and health tips with all of you…