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Kanpur leads World Health Organization blacklist of cities with worst air pollution

04 May 2018

"Even though Delhi is touted as one of the most polluted cities in the world, it doesn't belong to the highest vulnerability class because of better healthcare access", he added.

The improvement in Particulate Matter concentration in Delhi has happened in spite of episodic events in two successive years in November 2016 and November 2017. In July 2016, all non-attainment cities were given a set of 42 action points for improving on air quality.

According to the Union environment ministry, the data for 2017 has shown an improvement since 2016 and 2018 so far has also fared better than 2016 - indicating cleaner air due to the efforts that were made in 2017.

"The good news is that we are seeing more and more governments increasing commitments to monitor and reduce air pollution as well as more global action from the health sector and other sectors like transport, housing and energy", he said.

The Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were: Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait and a few cities in China and Mongolia. The combined effects of household air pollution and ambient air pollution become increasingly hard to address if not tackled early, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO Southeast Asia, said. The second largest city of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Kanpur, attained global infamy after the World Health Organisation (WHO) placed it on top of a list of 4,300 world cities monitored for their air pollution levels in the year 2016. Closely followed behind Port Talbot was Scunthorpe, Salford and Sandy all three of which had levels of 15 micrograms per cubic metre.

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

Although there are major gaps on air pollution data from regions including the Western Pacific and Africa - where information was available in only eight out of 47 countries on the continent - the World Health Organization chief noted that the worldwide community was "starting to pay attention and take action" on air pollution, recognizing it as a threat to sustainable development. A non-attainment area is an area considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The newspaper reports also highlight observations by various experts suggesting that action similar to that in Delhi and NCR be also taken in other polluted cities. The report includes five cities from the state.

It also referred to the launch of a mobile app - SAMEER - for grievance redressal.

Kanpur leads World Health Organization blacklist of cities with worst air pollution