In today’s times, air pollution has become mankind’s worst nemesis. It has become the biggest environmental health risk. The decreasing quality of air, and the mixing of toxic substances in the air we breathe has been one of the major factors contributing to the rising number of breathing-related diseases, which can have fatal consequences.

Apart from harming human health, air pollution has a significant impact on the climate, which puts the survival of millions of other species at risk. The problem of air pollution is spreading worldwide at a rapid pace, and back in India, the metro cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai are the worst affected. 

As per the World Air Quality Report, Delhi is at the top of list in the most polluted city in India. The AQI (Air Quality Index) in the city reached a ‘severe’ level. Kolkata and Mumbai are also not far behind in the low AQI. 

With the rising problems of air pollution in India, it is easy to think air pollution is everywhere. But this is not true. There are a few cities that are not affected by this issue, and in fact they have the cleanest air quality in the country. 

The Swachh Vayu Survekshan 2023 Clean Air Survey conducted by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) listed Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Thane in Maharashtra as the three least polluted cities in India. The survey ranked these cities in the same order as mention based on the following eight parameters –

  • Management of demolition and construction-related waste 
  • Measures to curb the emissions from vehicles
  • Measures to counter or reduce the industrial emissions
  • Running and effectiveness of the public awareness programs to reduce air control
  • Solid waste and biomass management system 
  • Managing the road dust
  • Measures to keep other emissions under check
  • Measures to improve PM10 concentration in the air

Let us know more about the cities in India with cleanest air quality and what they are doing to keep the air pollution at bay. 

Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Ranking number on the least polluted cities in India, Indore is one of the most beautiful cities not just in Madhya Pradesh. Popularly known by its moniker, ‘Smart City,’ over the past few years, Indore has been gaining accolades from all over the country for its exemplary urban planning, impeccable cleanliness and sustainable development activities. 

The city has been constantly referred to as the city that has set a benchmark for the rest of the country to follow its footsteps for reducing air pollution and improving the air quality. The city also has garnered praise and several accolades from all corners of the country for the active involvement of the citizens in keeping the city clean and the incentives provided by the local civic authorities. 

What are the reasons why Indore is the least polluted city in India?

One of the most significant reasons why Indore has the best air quality in the country is that the local authorities have established a robust waste management system. It helps in reducing the garbage burning and landfill emission, which is detrimental for the environment. 

Indore also implemented many innovative measures to promote and encourage the use of non-motorised vehicles among citizens. The city has laid out cycle tracks, and has a demarcated pedestrian zone. In addition, the city has invested heavily on green infrastructure like building parks, and gardens, which play a vital role in filtering the air and providing a cooling effect. 

Agra, Uttar Pradesh

The city of love, the home to one of the greatest love symbols on earth, Agra is synonymous with the magnificent mausoleum, Taj Mahal. A historical city in Uttar Pradesh, Agra has many wonderful sites other than the Taj like Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, which serve as a testament to India’s rich cultural and historical heritage. 

While the city has always been the centre of attention for its tourism, Agra also has made headlines in 2023 for being one the least air polluted cities in India. 

Top reasons why Agra is among the top three least polluted cities in India:

Agra is among the top three cities in India with the cleanest air because of the combined efforts of the government and the local residents. In fact, Agra has been one of the top examples in the world of what the citizen-government association can do and the difference they can create. 

A citizen-led group in the city worked relentlessly for about 242 weeks to clean the city. The group clean the roads, and every nook and corner of the city, painted the walls around with beautiful pictures of butterflies and spread awareness about the importance of a clean city. 

One of the greatest city clean-up initiatives in the country happened in Agra, i.e., the Yamuna Clean Up drive. Under this campaign, the government organises a weekly cleanliness drive to revive the holy Yamuna River. 

Another noteworthy thing that the civic authorities in Agra did to promote cleanliness and reduce pollution in the city is build a unique park specially for the sanitation workers in the city. The park has sculptures made out of waste materials such as metal scrap, and plastic bottles. These sculptures are symbolic of the appreciation to the sanitation works and their efforts to keep the city clean. 

Thane, Maharashtra

Located close to the financial capital of India, Thane is a vibrant city and a district in itself. Known for its remarkably fast-paced vibe, and the constant hustle and bustle, Thane is nowadays considered an extension of Mumbai. Although Thane has a considerable number of industries in the region, it is known for its remarkably clean air. 

Even as the residents are constantly on the go here, unlike Mumbaikars, they can breathe clean and fresh air every day, thanks to the consistent and rigorous efforts by the locals and government to maintain air quality and keep air pollution at bay. 

Thane has a large belt of greenery and untouched forest, which acts as the lungs of the city. It helps purify the air. Also, the meticulous urban planning and the strict air pollution measures have contributed to Thane being one of the least polluted cities in India.

What makes Thane so clean?

One of the lesser-known facts about Thane is that it is known as the city of lakes as there are about 30 natural lakes in the city. These water bodies and the large stretch of greenery help reduce the air pollution and clean the air. 

Besides, as part of the Swachh Bharat Campaign, the local municipal body, TMC (Thane Municipal Corporation) has collaborated with one of the leading real estate developers in the country, the Kalpataru Group to launch a cleanliness drive called ‘Majhe Sunder Thane,’ which literally translates to My Beautiful Thane. 

Under this initiative, the TMC and Kalpataru group regularly organise clean-up drives in the city where the locals volunteer and clean the malls, public parks, roads, railway station, residential societies, and slums in the region. 

So, there you have the list of top three cities in India with the cleanest air quality. If you are frustrated with the pollution in your city, you can go on a holiday to one of these cities, whichever is closer to your hometown and enjoy living in a pollution-free environment and breathe pure air. 

The best part of these cities is that they have all the modern amenities like any other city in India, but it is the locals and the smart planning and initiatives by the government that sets them apart from the rest. 

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