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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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