Air Clean Up

  • Top 10 Polluted Cities All in India, Says WHO

Top 10 Polluted Cities All in India, Says WHO

May 22 2018 Read 1367 Times

The latest data provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO)  has concluded that all ten of the most polluted cities in the world are to be found in India, with 14 of the top 20 in that country as well. The revelation spells further trouble for the Asian nation, which has been plagued by concerns over its poor air quality for several years now.

Northern city Kanpur was found to be the most contaminated city on the planet in terms of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) concentrations, with a whole host of other northern cities high on the dubious leaderboard, as well.

Top of the pile

The average PM2.5 level of Kanpur throughout the whole of 2016 was 173, which is an incredible 17 times the maximum threshold recommended by the WHO. Four others in the top ten (Varanasi, Lucknow, Agra and Muzzafarpur) were also to be found in the northern territory of Uttar Pradesh.

Capital city New Delhi was formerly recognised as the most polluted city in the world and has slipped to sixth in the latest rankings. But rather than signalling any improvement in air quality and reduction in transport-related pollution, the new findings simply indicate a deterioration in the situation elsewhere across the country.

Other northern metropoles Faridabad, Gaya, Patna and Srinagar rounded out the top ten. Of the six in the top 20 which weren’t Indian, one was Korean, one Mongolian and four Chinese – although the Chinese cities’ final standings relied on outdated data.

Taking a leaf out of the Chinese book

China was long denigrated as the pollution capital of the world, with its booming industry and exorbitant population contributing to a red alert air quality crisis in Beijing and nationwide unrest over the problem. In the last few years, the Chinese government have made a concerted effort to address the issue by entering a new air in air quality monitoring and spending more money on environmental research than any other nation in the world.

Industry experts have signalled their hope that India can follow the example set by China in curbing its own emissions and reducing the dangerous exposure faced by vast swathes of its population. Maria Neira, the chief of public health for the WHO, was particularly vocal in her support for Chinese incentives.

“There is a big step at the government level [in China] declaring war on air pollution. One of the reasons for that is that the health argument was very strongly presented, and the fact that the citizens were really breathing air that was totally unacceptable,” she said in a statement. “We would be very happy if we would see a similar movement now in India which is one of the countries for which we are particularly concerned.”

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