Gurugram world’s most polluted, 4 other NCR cities in top 10: Report
Air pollution is likely to cause the death of an estimated seven million lives globally in the next year while costing the world’s economy nearly $ 225 billion.Updated: Mar 06, 2019 10:25 IST
India’s national capital region (NCR) emerged as the most polluted region in the world in 2018, a new pollution report says, with Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, and Bhiwadi in the top six worst-affected cities.
Worryingly, air pollution is likely to cause the death of an estimated seven million lives globally in the next year while costing the world’s economy nearly $ 225 billion, said the report which was released Tuesday morning in Jakarta .
The situation is increasingly grim for south Asia, the report said. Of the 20 most polluted cities in the world last year, 18 were in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the study found.
Delhi is ranked 11th in the list; the only non-Indian city in the top five is Pakistan’s Faisalabad.
Beijing, once considered the most polluted city in the world, has shown remarkable improvement in air quality and ranked 122nd in the list last year, the report compiled and analysed by IQ AirVisual, a software company that tracks pollution worldwide, and Greenpeace, an environmental NGO found.
“China’s skies remain gray but progress is impressive,” the report said.
“Average concentrations in the cities in China fell by 12% from 2017 to 2018. Beijing ranks now as the 122nd most polluted city in the world, according to the AirVisual dataset, with PM2.5 levels falling more than 40% since 2013. If Beijing’s PM2.5 concentration had stayed at 2013 level, the city would rank as the 21st on the list in 2018,” it added.
There are only two Chinese cities now in the top 20 most polluted, Hotan and Kashgar, both in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China.
“The new data reveals the true scale of South Asian air pollution crisis: out of 20 most polluted cities in the world, 18 are in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The data also exposes nine South Asian cities that are even worse than Delhi,” the report said.
The latest data compiled in the IQAir AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality Report and interactive World’s most polluted cities ranking, prepared in collaboration with Greenpeace Southeast Asia, reveals the state of particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in 2018.
Also read: Delhi has a complex air pollution problem
“Out of the over 3000 cities included, 64% exceeded the WHO’s annual exposure guideline (10μg/m3) for fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5. 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% of cities in Southeast Asia and 89% of cities in East Asia also exceed this level. As many areas lack up-to-date public air quality information and are for this reason not represented in this report, the total number of cities exceeding the WHO PM2.5 threshold is expected to be far higher,” the report said.
There are lessons that India can learn from China, experts involved with the report said.
“The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) recently launched by Ministry of Environment and Forest in India seems to be improving on the data availability and transparency among other things which is another key aspect which helped Beijing fight the battle to reduce air pollution levels,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Climate & Energy, Greenpeace India.
“Set specific targets for pollution reduction rather than given 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,” Dahiya added.
India should also set pollution/emission reduction targets and consumption caps on polluting fuels such as coal, diesel in polluted geographies aiming at emission load reduction, Dahiya added.
“Adopt a regional and air-shed approach while targeting aggressive pollution reduction for polluted cities.”
The NCAP is a programme in the form of a report launched by the ministry of environment and forest (MOEF&CC) on January 10, 2019.
“This NCAP aims to reduce pollution levels by 20-30% till 2024 compared to 2017 levels in 102 non-attainment cities (identified by CPCB, Central Pollution Control Board based on older data till 2015),” Dahiya said.
The report identified some of the major sources or causes of ambient air pollution.
“Industries, households, cars, and trucks emit complex mixtures of air pollutants, many of which are harmful to health. Of all of these pollutants, fine particulate matter has the greatest effect on human health,” it said.
“Most fine particulate matter comes from fuel combustion, both from mobile sources such as vehicles and from stationary sources such as power plants, industry, households, agriculture or biomass burning,” the report added.
“Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures, but we can change that. In addition to human lives lost, there’s an estimated global cost of 225 billion dollars in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs. This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets,” executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia, Yeb Sano, said
“We want this report to make people think about the air we breathe because when we understand the impacts of air quality on our lives, we will act to protect what’s most important.”
Here is a link to the report and interactive ranking: https://www.airvisual.com/world-most-polluted-cities