Hold your breath! India outnumbers rest in terms of most polluted cities; here’s shocking number

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Updated: May 2, 2018 12:31:15 PM

The World Health Organisation said that Indian region also 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.

 Air pollution, India, pm 25, air pollution india, india air pollution, who air pollution in india, delhi pollution, delhi air pollution, india air pollution deaths, india pollution level, pollution level in my cityThe WHO has called upon member-countries in its Southeast Asia Region to aggressively address the double burden of household and ambient (outdoor) air pollution.

Delhi’s air pollution crisis made international headlines last year. The situation was so bad that people were advised to skip offices and schools were shut for some time. But is Delhi the only city in the country with scarily high levels of air pollution? Certainly not. A study by the World Health Organisation has suggested that 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India. The data was released in terms of PM2.5 levels for 2016. The list includes country’s national capital Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were Kanpur, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, 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 said that Indian region also 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.

The WHO has called upon member-countries in its Southeast Asia Region to aggressively address the double burden of household and ambient (outdoor) air pollution.

Out of 3.8 million deaths caused by household air pollution in the world, India accounts for 1.5 million or 40 per cent deaths. While 1.3 million or 30 per cent of the total 4.2 million global deaths due to ambient air pollution are reported from India.

The PM2.5 includes pollutants like sulfate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the greatest risk to human health. WHO’s data was based on a study from more than 4,300 cities in 108 countries. As per the data, ambient air pollution alone caused around 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution 3.8 million deaths in the same period.

The data further said that 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (including India), mainly in Asia and Africa, it further said that these countries are followed by the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.

Around 3 billion people, or, more than 40 percent of the world’s population, still do not have access to clean cooking fuels – the main source of household air pollution.

Further, the WHO recognised air pollution is a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The UN health body held air pollution as responsible for an estimated 24 per cent of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25 per cent from stroke, 43 per cent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29 per cent from lung cancer.

However, the report also categorically mentioned PM Narendra Modi’s pet programme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, as one of the efforts country has made to support poor to switch to clean household energy use.

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