Published: 02nd May 2018
India Choking: 13 of 20 most polluted cities worldwide in India, says WHO report
Since 2016, over 1,000 additional cities have been added to WHO's database, which shows more countries are measuring and taking action to reduce air pollution
Nine out of every 10 people on earth breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants that kill 7 million people each year, according to a new study published by the World Health Organization. In terms of PM10 levels, 13 cities in India featured among the 20 most-polluted cities of the world in 2016.
The study is stated to be an analysis of what the WHO says is the world's most comprehensive database on ambient air pollution. WHO collected the data from over 4,300 cities and 108 countries and its global urban air pollution database measured the levels of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)
5 most polluted cities in India, in terms of PM10 levels in 2016
Pollution levels across India's major metros in 2016
According to the report, more than 90 percent of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (including India), mainly in Asia and Africa, followed by low- and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.
"Around 3 billion people – more than 40 percent of the world's population – still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes, the main source of household air pollution," it said.
5 polluted cities around the world, in terms of PM10 levels in 2016
Sydney, Australia- 17
Beijing, China- 92
Jakarta, Indonesia- 82
Las Vegas- 19
Los Angeles- 25
"WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in the polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia," the report said.
WHO has called upon member-countries in its Southeast Asia Region to aggressively address the double burden of household and ambient (outdoor) air pollution, saying the region, which comprises India, accounts for 34 pc or 2.4 million of the seven million premature deaths caused by household and ambient air pollution together globally every year.
Since 2016, over 1,000 additional cities have been added to WHO's database, which shows more countries are measuring and taking action to reduce air pollution than ever before.
The report said several countries are making efforts and taking measures and in this context, referring to India's Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which it said, in just two years, has provided 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use. India targets to reach 80 million households by 2020.
"Air pollution does not recognise borders. Improving air quality demands sustained and coordinated government action at all levels," the report concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)