Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

India has Made Serious Efforts to Deal with Air Pollution'

India has Made Serious Efforts to Deal with Air Pollution'

As per the WHO global air pollution database, released by Geneva, Kanpur is the most polluted city in the world.

According to World Health Organization around seven million people die every year from exposure to polluted air.

"The WHO report indicates that Delhi is placed at number six with an annual average PM2.5 concentration as 143 micrograms per cubic metre in 2016".

Of the 20 most polluted cities, 14 are in India, while two cities - Peshawar and Rawalpindi - are in Pakistan.

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.

The World Health Organisation 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.

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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.

India's capital, which once was the world's most polluted city, ranks sixth in the most recent list.

Three other cities of the state picked by World Health Organization for pollution measurement were Kota, Alwar Udaipur and Alwar which stand at number 75, 76 and 83 in the list. The average level of PM2.5 in Noida was recorded to be 103.4ug/m3, which was the highest among NCR towns.

PM2.5 are tiny but deadly air particles, which can increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. If steps are not taken to control pollution levels in these cities it would create a Delhi-like situation. "If we don't take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. Nearly 9 out of the 10 people breathe polluted air and is the most risky. A lot of them are the African and Asian countries.

During these months, in addition to local emissions, there was a substantial contribution from regional sources, including smoke due to stubble burning in neighbouring states and dust from the Gulf countries, it said.

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