Environment

Delhi most polluted; Mumbai 4th in world: WHO report

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Delhi most polluted; Mumbai 4th in world: WHO report

Delhi has topped the list of polluted cities, while Mumbai is at number 4 in the world, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest report.

The WHO estimates that around 90% of people worldwide breathe polluted air.

Here are the details of the WHO report on air pollution:

1. The new data from WHO shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

2. The WHO estimates around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

3. Ambient (outdoor) air pollution alone caused around 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.

4. More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, followed by low and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.

5. WHO compiled air quality data for megacities with a population of more than 14 million. It found Delhi as the most polluted city in the world, followed by Greater Cairo in Egypt, Bangladesh capital Dhaka, Mumbai and Beijing in China, Shanghai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires.

6. Around 3 billion people – more than 40% of the world’s population – still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes, the main source of household air pollution.

7. The WHO recognizes that air pollution is a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated one-quarter (24%) of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer.

8. While the latest WHO data show ambient air pollution levels are still dangerously high in most parts of the world, they also show some positive progress with some countries are taking measures to tackle and reduce air pollution from particulate matter.

9. The WHO appreciated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative – Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Scheme, that aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing clean cooking fuel.

“In just two years, India’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Scheme has provided some 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use,” said the WHO in its report.

10. The organization also lauded Mexico City for its commitment to cleaner vehicle standards, including a move to soot-free buses and a ban on private diesel cars by 2025.

Sreya Basu

Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.

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