India tops World Health Organization's air pollution list

India tops World Health Organization's air pollution list

The WHO data also said that nine out of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

The WHO report said the other Indian cities that registered very high PM2.5 levels and constituted the top 14 were Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur.

"Even though Delhi is touted as one of the most polluted cities in the world, it doesn't belong to the highest vulnerability class because of better healthcare access", he added.

Many of the UK's cities also have air quality levels that far exceed the safe guidelines set out by the World Health Organisation.

The PM2.5 includes pollutants like sulfate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the greatest risk to human health.

In the context of air pollution, CPCB data based on Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) indicates that the annual average PM 2.5 concentration in the year 2016 as 134 micrograms per cubic metre and as 125 micrograms per cubic metre in the year 2017.

According to WHO's database for 2016, Delhi was ranked at sixth position in the list.

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Around 3.8 million people died in 2016 due to pollution "from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies", it said.

Speaking on the scenario, director Alok Dhawan said, "There is an urgent need for remedial measures to improve Lucknow's air quality by drafting a special policy for controlling air pollution".

Although there are major gaps on air pollution data from regions including the Western Pacific and Africa - where information was available in only eight out of 47 countries on the continent - the World Health Organization chief noted that the worldwide community was "starting to pay attention and take action" on air pollution, recognizing it as a threat to sustainable development.

India targets to reach 80 million households by 2020. "The government has also taken several bold initiatives, including leap-frogging from BS-IV to BS-VI", it said. These fine particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system and as a result can cause many diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections including pneumonia. We are all breathing in highly polluted air, which needs to be checked right away. A lot of them are the African and Asian countries. Power plants within a 300-km radius of a settlement can adversely affect air quality.

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

Air pollution does not recognise borders.

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