Delhi NCR is the most polluted region in the world.
Other Indian cities that made their debut in the top five are Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Bhiwandi. Air pollution is likely to cause the death of almost seven million people around the world in the next year and will cost around $225 billion to the global economy, he added. This is more than five times the safe limit of 10 mpcm prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and almost 1.5 times more than the permissible limit of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
In total, authors found that 64 per cent of world cities exceeded WHO guidelines, with 100 per cent of measured cities in the Middle East and Africa breaking the limit. Average concentrations in cities in China fell by 12% from 2017 to 2018, and Beijing was the 122nd most polluted city in the world previous year.
The study also indicated that air pollution and its impact is more profound in South and East Asian countries.
Relying heavily on coal as an energy source, and coping with serious traffic congestion, cities in India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh were among the top 50 with the highest average levels of PM 2.5.
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New Delhi's toxic air is caused by vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites, smoke from the burning of rubbish and crop residue in nearby fields.
Every single measured city in the Middle East and Africa exceeds the World Health Organization guidelines, as well as 99% of cities in south Asia and 89% in east Asia.
The report is based on air quality data from government and private monitoring networks. "We still don't know the magnitude of air pollution problem in terms of PM2.5 monitoring", he said.
The alarming revelations of the report make the successful implementation of environment ministry's National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) all the more important. "If Beijing's PM 2.5 concentration had stayed at 2013 level, the city would rank as the 21st on the list in 2018", reported Hindustan Times.