India home to 43 of world’s 100 most at-risk cities

New Delhi is rated as the second environmentally most vulnerable city globally and is followed by Chennai (3rd), Agra (6th) and Kanpur (10th), Jaipur (22nd), Lucknow (24th), Bengaluru (25th) and Mumbai (27th)

Research company Verisk Maplecroft warned that organisations unable to account for the full spectrum of environmental threats and impacts will face some difficult conversations.

Among the 100 cities most susceptible to environmental risks like natural disasters and air pollution among others, 43 are in India, says an international report prepared for global investors to assess business risks.

Shockingly, 99 of the 100 vulnerable cities are in Asia, with 37 Chinese cities too at a high risk, adds the report, prepared by research company Verisk Maplecroft.

Extreme air and water pollution also mean India has 13 of the 20 riskiest cities in the world. National capital New Delhi is rated as the second highest risk city globally and is followed by Chennai (3rd), Agra (6th) and Kanpur (10th). Close behind are Jaipur (22nd), Lucknow (24th), Bengaluru (25th) and Mumbai (27th).

The report suggests that pollution is the main threat to urban Indians. The Air Quality Index also marks 19 Indian cities in the world’s 20 most at risk.


As per the Global Burden of Disease study conducted in 2019, about 16 lakh Indians died due to air pollution in 2019. Half of these deaths were in just 5 states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan. The economic cost was US$ 36,803 million, which is equivalent to 1.36% of India’s GDP.

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Meanwhile, water pollution is responsible for almost USD9 billion in annual health costs and causes 400,000 deaths each year.

Will Nichols, Verisk Maplecroft’s Head of Environment and Climate Change, said, “A significant danger for many cities is how climate change will amplify weather-related risks. Higher temperatures and the increasing severity and frequency of extreme events will change the quality of living and economic growth prospects of many cities across the globe.”

China and India are the world’s first and third biggest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively. Globally, 1.5 billion people live in 414 cities that are at high risk from pollution, water shortages, extreme heat, natural hazards and the physical impacts of climate change.

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Europe is much better. The continent is home to 14 of the 20 least risky cities, including Krasnoyarsk in Siberia (576th), Oslo (575th), Glasgow (573rd), Helsinki (569th) and Copenhagen (563rd). Vancouver (574th) and Ottawa (571st) gate-crash Europe’s domination.