Most polluted cities in India mapped

Air pollution

The ministry said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data - based on Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations - indicates that the annual average PM2.5 concentration in 2016 as 134 micrograms per cubic metre and as 125 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017.

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

"While the latest data shows ambient air pollution levels are still dangerously high in most parts of the world, countries also show some positive progress".

The study titled "18-year Ambient PM2.5 Exposure and Night Light Trends in India Cities" has been published in the Aerosol and Air Quality Research, an worldwide peer reviewed journal.

The air quality database for 2016 was released by World Health Organization on Wednesday and showed that the north Indian industrial city of Kanpur had the highest-measured levels of PM2.5, or small particulate matter.

Given that most of the polluted cities are located in and around Delhi and along the Indo-Gangetic plain, it is critical that the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal are further sensitised to take up urgent action on cleaning air in cities under their jurisdiction. Lucknow has been ranked 7th in this list, which has a total of 4 cities from UP in the top 10.

According to the report, more than 90 per cent 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. "The government has also taken several bold initiatives, including leap-frogging from BS-IV to BS-VI", it said. And the penetration of these levels has been the highest in these.

PM2.5 are tiny but deadly air particles, which can increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Hopefully, some consideration will surely be given to pull down the level of pollution in the city soon.

"Many of the world's megacities exceed WHO's guideline levels for air quality by more than 5 times, representing a major risk to people's health", Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health at WHO, said, adding, there is an acceleration of political interest to deal with this global public health challenge.

"Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalised people bear the brunt of the burden". Majority 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 Gulf countries.

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