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India has 14 of world’s 20 most polluted cities, Kanpur tops the list

The WHO report estimated that nine of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Further, according to WHO’s study, ambient air pollution caused about 4.2 million deaths globally in 2016.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: May 3, 2018 5:53:13 pm
Garbage pickers burn waste on the road at Seemapuri in New Delhi every morning which causes air pollution. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

A new global report on air pollution by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that 14 of the 15 cities with the highest levels of PM 2.5 pollutants in 2016 were in India. The study ranked 4,300 cities in 108 countries across the world.

Taking into account PM2.5 levels, the data from 2016 — the latest — shows Delhi, Varanasi, Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur among the most polluted in the country.

Kanpur recorded an annual average PM2.5 level of 173 micrograms per cubic meter, several times higher than the WHO recommendation of no more than 10 mcg per cubic meter. (Source: PTI)

In terms of PM10 levels, 13 cities in the country feature among the 20 most polluted ones in the world in 2016. The WHO report has also found that nine of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

Delhi ranks sixth in this list. According to the experts, the data does not show improvements in Delhi’s air quality but rather that more cities have toxic air. (Source: PTI)

Further, according to WHO’s study, ambient air pollution caused about 4.2 million deaths globally in 2016. At least 3.8 million deaths were caused by household air pollution in the world.

A boy takes his cycle out as smoke is seen emitting from a chimney on Wednesday in Chembur. Mumbai currently ranks fourth amongst the most polluted megacity in the world. (Express Photo by Karma Sonam Bhutia)

The report says that over 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (including India), followed by low- and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.

A construction worker speaks on phone as smoke is seen emitting from a chimney on Wednesday in eastern suburb of Mumbai. (Express Photo by Karma Sonam Bhutia)

While Delhi, Agra and Kanpur are known to have very high levels of air pollution, places like Varanasi, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, and Srinagar do not have a high concentration of polluting industries, or other common sources of pollution, such as vehicular emissions.

PM 2.5 includes pollutants like sulfate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the greatest risk to human health. Power plants, industry, agriculture, transport and inefficient use of energy by households are among the major causes of air pollution. (Express Photo by Karma Sonam Bhutia)

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