Fourteen Indian cities, led by the northern metropolis known for its leather and shoe industries, feature in the 15 cities with the dirtiest air in the WHO´s global list.
"It is noteworthy that nearly one million vehicles are added on the roads of Delhi every year and in spite of increased construction activities and vehicular movement, air quality in Delhi is showing signs of improvement".
Delhi and Varanasi are among the 14 Indian cities that figured in a list of 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2016, data released by the WHO showed today. 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. In some regions, sand and desert dust, waste burning and deforestation are additional sources of air pollution. The report has been made on the basis of the global urban air pollution database that measured the levels of fine particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 which means particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 micrometres, respectively in different cities of the world.
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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.
Similarly for PM10, the figures were 289 micrograms per cubic metre in 2016 and 268 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017. "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.
"As a resident of the city it makes me sad and appalled but this ranking should at least wake up the government and citizens to take some immediate steps to end the pollution", 55-year-old Kanpur resident Ramesh Soni told AFP. A non-attainment area is an area considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
To bring in control the various hazardous effects the government had also acted out a new comprehensive action plan, exclusively for the Delhi NCR. The report includes five cities from the state.