Recently, IQAir published the 6th Annual World Air Quality Report 2023.

Key Highlights of the Report 2023

Only 7 Countries (Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand) meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) PM2.5 Air Pollution Guideline. 

  • WHO PM2.5 annual guideline annual average of 5 µg/m3 or less.
  • PM2.5 refers to particulate matter (ambient airborne particles) which measure up to 2.5 microns in size. It is widely regarded as the pollutant with the most health impact of all commonly measured air pollutants.
  • A total of 124 (92.5%) out of 134 countries and regions exceeded the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline. 
  • For the first time in the history of this report, Canada was the most polluted country in Northern America.
  • Top 5 polluted countries in 2023 report.
RankCountryAverage PM 2.5 in 2023
1stBangladesh79.9 µg/m3
2ndPakistan73.7 µg/m3
3rdIndia54.4 µg/m3
4thTajikistan49.0 µg/m3
5thBurkina Faso46.6 µg/m3


  • It is a Swiss air quality technology company founded in 1961.
  • Headquarters: Goldach, Switzerland.
  • It seeks to empower individuals, organizations and communities to breathe cleaner air through information, collaboration and technology solutions.

About the World Air Quality Report

  • The first such report was published in 2018 by IQAir. It is a global review of air quality.
  • It is based on data from air quality monitoring stations located in different countries.

India’s Position in the Report 2023

  • India Ranked as the third most polluted country in the world in 2023.
  • Annual average PM2.5 concentrations rose slightly in 2023 to 54.4 µg/ m3 compared to 53.3 µg/m3 in 2022 when it was the eighth most polluted country.
  • PM2.5 levels in the National Capital Territory, Delhi, rose by 10% in 2023, with levels peaking in November which saw a monthly average of 255 µg/m3.
  • This trend is reflected in city-level data with more than 66% of the country’s cities reporting annual averages greater than 35 µg/m3.
  • Ten out of the top 11 most polluted cities in the world are from India, the other being Lahore (4th) in Pakistan.
  • The report states that 42 of the world’s most polluted 50 cities are in India.
  • Begusarai (118.9µg/m3) was the most polluted metropolitan area of 2023 followed by Guwahati (105.4µg/m3). 
  • Average PM2.5 of Indian cities:
CityAverage PM 2.5 in 2023Average PM 2.5 in 2022

NCR (National Capital Region)

  • Greater Noida (88.6µg/m3) was the most polluted, across the National Capita Region after Delhi, followed by Gurugram (84µg/m3) 
  • Coal burning was banned in the NCR (National Capital Region) effective January 1, 2023.


IQAir’s annual report illustrates the international nature and inequitable consequences of the enduring air pollution crisis. A local, national, and international effort is urgently needed to monitor air quality in under-resourced places, manage the causes of transboundary haze, and cut our reliance on combustion as an energy source.

Also Read:

State of the Global Climate Report 2023