Written byGarima Bora
The IQAir AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality Report was released today in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The report, in collaboration with Greenpeace Southeast Asia, displays the state of particulate matter (PM 2.5) pollution in 2018.
Apart from Gurugram, among the world's top 10 most polluted cities, 7 are in India namely Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, Lucknow, and Bhiwadi with Delhi standing at the 11th position in the list.
The non-Indian cities in the top 10 list are Faisalabad and Lahore in Pakistan, and Hotan in China.
In the top 20 most polluted cities, 18 belong to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
The report includes over 3,000 cities, and 64% of them exceeded the annual exposure guideline by WHO for PM2.5 i.e. 10μg/m3.
"Every single one of measured cities with data in the Middle East and Africa exceeded this guideline, while 99% of cities in South Asia, 95% in Southeast Asia and 89% of cities in East Asia also exceed this level," the report said.
"This has enormous impact, on our health and on our wallets," Yeb Sano, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
Air-pollution is expected to take lives of nearly 7mn people in the world next year.
"In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated cost of $225 billion (Rs. 16L crore) in lost labor, and trillions in medical costs," Sano said.
While the situation is grim for India, China seems to be doing better as Beijing, which was once the most polluted city in the world, now stands 122nd in the list. The PM2.5 levels in China's capital city have reduced to over 40% since 2013.
Experts, involved with the report, mentioned certain lessons India can learn from China to improve air quality.
"The National Clean Air Program recently launched by Ministry of Environment and Forest in India seems to be improving on the data availability and transparency," said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Climate & Energy, Greenpeace India, adding that a similar data helped Beijing to reduce air pollution levels.
Dahiya further said, "Set specific targets for pollution reduction rather than give a wide window for specific cities. Make the pollution reduction targets legally binding on the polluters and authorities, so that compliance can be achieved in aggressive and efficient ways."
He added that there should be pollution/emission reduction targets and consumption caps on coal, diesel in polluted areas for "emission load reduction."
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