Delhi has managed to secure the number two spot, behind Tokyo, as the world’s second most populous city with 25 million inhabitants. Tokyo remains the world’s largest city with 28 million inhabitants.
According to the 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Delhi, already infamous for having the worst air quality in the world, is likely to close the gap between itself and Tokyo to 1 million by 2030. It is accepted that by then Delhi will around 36 million people, while Tokyo will have about 37 million.
The report warns that urban growth is a worldwide phenomenon, but India, China and Nigeria will be affected the most by it. The number of mega cities with population over 10 million now stand at 28; in the 1990 there were only 10 such cities. Experts believe that by 2030 there will be 41 mega cities across the globe.
Governance and service systems in Delhi will continue to face immense pressure, say experts. The urban growth is made most stark by the gap between the demand and supply of basic services. In 1992 the peak demand for power in Delhi was 1536 MW, today the peak demand touches 5,798 MW. Additionally, even as the Delhi Jal Board provides 835 million gallons per day (MGD), it falls woefully short of the peak demand of 1080 MGD. “Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century. Our success or failure in building sustainable cities will be a major factor in the success of the post-2015 UN development agenda,” says John Wilmoth, Director if UN DESA’s Population Division.
Another Indian city, Mumbai, is in the top six with a population of 21 million.
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