Monday, 23 July, 2018

Indian Officials Upset By Lack Of Progress In Fighting Air Pollution

14 out of world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India WHO 14 of world's 20 most polluted cities in India
Judith Alexander | 04 May, 2018, 13:53

The report has been made on the basis of the global urban air pollution database that measured the levels of fine particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 which means particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 micrometres, respectively in different cities of the world.

It is noteworthy that nearly 1 million vehicles are added on the roads of Delhi every year and in spite of increased construction activities and vehicular movement, air quality in Delhi is showing signs of improvement.

A new World Health Organization report said on Wednesday that 14 Indian cities were on its 2016 list of 15 with the highest levels of PM2.5 or particulate matter (PM) with a diametre of less than 2.5 micrometres.

In terms of PM10 levels, 13 Indian cities figured in the 20 most-polluted cities of the world in 2016, Delhi being the worst.

As an indicator of why this constitutes a major public health emergency, consider that WHO has further pointed to air pollution being a main cause of non-communicable diseases, causing around 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 25% from lung cancer.

BBC analysis of the study shows the northern city of Kanpur tops the list of world cities with the highest PM2.5 levels in 2016.

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Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait and a few cities in China and Mongolia.

In a call for Member States to take action urgently, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, warned that air pollution "threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalised people bear the brunt of the burden".

India's capital, which once was the world's most polluted city, ranks sixth in the most recent list. The WHO also said that the countries are also taking the required measures to curb the negative effects.

Referring to the report, which highlighted observations by experts who suggested that action similar to that taken in Delhi and NCR be also taken in other polluted cities, the ministry said the CPCB has taken action in the matter. It is reporting improvements in air quality thanks to focused policies combined with strict nationwide enforcement, including source-wise action to reduce emissions. A lot of them are the African and Asian countries.

Waste burning and deforestation are additional sources of air pollution, as are sand and desert dust, the agency says.

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