Without 2017 data, World Health Organization pollution report doesn't give clear picture

Without 2017 data, World Health Organization pollution report doesn't give clear picture

Delhi: The national capital ranked sixth in terms of PM 2.5 with an annual average of 143 g/m3 in 2016.

The World Health Organization report states that the Uttar Pradesh city is the most polluted in the world with an annual PM2.5 average of 173 micrograms per cubic metre (g/m3) and an annual PM10 (particulate matter of 10 micrometres or less in diametre) average of 319 (g/m3).

Waste burning and deforestation are additional sources of air pollution, as are sand and desert dust, the agency says.

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A new World Health Organization report said on Wednesday that 14 Indian cities were on its 2016 list of 15 with the highest levels of PM2.5 or particulate matter (PM) with a diametre of less than 2.5 micrometres.

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.

Over the past two decades nearly, the average level of PM2.5 - pollutants that can penetrate deep inside the lungs - in Delhi has remained more than two times above the annual permissible limits, says a new study by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and TERI. Data for the year 2017 for PM 2.5 shows an improvement over 2016 and so far in 2018, it shows a further improvement, as compared to 2017. As shocking as it might seem, the fact that Lucknow has been ranked among the top 10 most polluted city in the world, is now a reality. The WHO also said that the countries are also taking the required measures to curb the negative effects.

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The Indian cities marked in the report include Delhi, Varanasi, Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala, and Jodhpur. Closely followed behind Port Talbot was Scunthorpe, Salford and Sandy all three of which had levels of 15 micrograms per cubic metre. "If we don't take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.

The WHO report does not have the air quality report of 2017.

In July 2016, all non-attainment cities were given a set of 42 action points to improve air quality and as a follow-up, 94 cities were asked to prepare detailed action plans, it said.

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Referring to the report, which highlighted observations by experts who suggested that action similar to that taken in Delhi and NCR be also taken in other polluted cities, the ministry said the CPCB has taken action in the matter.

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