Tel Aviv Air Four Times Filthier Than Beijing's This Morning, Say Chinese Smog Watchers

But the cake goes to New Delhi, which boasts a small-particulate count of 580 micrograms per cubic meter of air today.

Nir Keidar

Tel Aviv's air is four times filthier than Beijing's this morning, according to a Chinese organization called Air Quality Index, which monitors smog levels in cities around the world (click here for its smog map for the Middle East).

In Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning, the level of hazardous tiny Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) was 105 micrograms per cubic meter of air, which is considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups," according to the Real-time Air Quality Index. The level of PM 10 is 37. The main cause of pollution in the metropolitan Tel Aviv area is vehicles, and the incessant traffic jams.

The Israeli Environment Ministry monitoring station situated in south Tel Aviv, on the other hand, had a PM 2.5 reading of 20 at mid-day, rising to 26 by mid-afternoon.

Jerusalem has cleaner air, according to the index, with a PM 2.5 reading of 62 micrograms this morning, which is considered "moderate."

While Israel isn't in enviable shape smog-wise, China has become notorious for its dirty air - but actually on this morning, the crown goes to the Indian capital of New Delhi.

New Delhi has a problem because it sits in a basin, rather like Los Angeles. Under cooler conditions the pollution gets trapped, a problem all the more acute in winter.

In the business district right across from Delhi's relatively groomed government center, PM 2.5 pollution reached world-breaking levels of 580 micrograms per cubic meter of air today, thanks to the constantly rivers of vehicles and the custom of burning garbage, in the absence of centralized trash collection. The concentration of bigger particulate matter (PM 10) is even higher.

For all Beijing's bad rep, this morning its PM 2.5 reading is 30, which is considered "good". Shanghai on the other hand maintains China's reputation for having filthy air, with a PM 2.5 reading of 142 – and Nanjing takes the Chinese cake with a reading of 205, which is considered "very unhealthy."