Environment: According to the World Air Quality Report 2020 by Swiss organisation, IQAir, 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India. This includes New Delhi, which has been cited as the most polluted capital city in the world for the third year running.
According to the report, while Delhi’s air quality had improved by nearly 15 percent from 2019, it still ranked as the 10th most polluted city in the world, and the most polluted capital city.
IQAir’s World Air Quality Report 2020 gathered air quality data for 106 countries. The findings were based on a country’s annual average of particulate matter PM2.5—airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems.
Meerut, Agra, and Muzaffarnagar (all in Uttar Pradesh), Faridabad, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, Bandhwari, Gurugram, Yamuna Nagar, Rohtak, and Dharuhera (all in Haryana), and Muzaffarpur in Bihar are the other Indian cities among the 30 most polluted cities in the world.
Despite an 11 percent reduction in the annual average of PM2.5 levels due to the COVID-19 lockdown curbs imposed last year, India emerged as the world’s third most polluted country after Bangladesh and Pakistan. “Air pollution in India is still dangerously high,” the report said.
Earlier in February, a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of IQAir data said that air pollution caused by PM2.5 fine particulate matter led to the death of 54,000 people in Delhi in 2020. Pollution levels in the city are almost six times above the prescribed WHO limits, and an estimated 1800 deaths per million are on account of PM2.5 air pollution.
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