New Delhi: Six of the ten most polluted cities in the world are in India, says the latest report by the World Health Organisation.
Six Indian cities – Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna, Raipur, Ludhiana, and Delhi – rank among the most polluted cities in the world.
The dirtiest air was recorded at Zabol in Iran, which suffers from months of dust storms in the summer, and which clocked a so-called PM2.5 measure of 217. The next four were all Indian: Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur, Reuters reported quoting the WHO findings.
The national capital New Delhi has descended to the ninth position,a considerable improvement since 2014 when the city was ranked most polluted city in terms of PM 2.5 levels.
Delhi's annual mean is about three times the Indian safe standard and 12 times the WHO standard of 10 micrograms per cubic metres.
It has since tried to tackle its toxic air by limiting the use of private cars on the road for short periods.
Punjab's Ludhiana has been ranked 10th in the list.
The WHO data, a survey of 3,000 urban areas, shows only 2 percent of cities in poorer countries have air quality that meets WHO standards, while 44 percent of richer cities do.
According to the WHO, air pollution is currently the greatest environmental risk to public health and causes about 3 million premature deaths globally every year.
The report suggests millions of people in India are at risk of serious cardiac and respiratory infections and diseases because of high pollution levels.
The report says annually, deaths of 1.7 million children (under the age of 5) and 4.9 million adults (between ages 50 to 75) could be prevented through better environmental management.
1) Zabol, Iran
2) Gwalior, India
3) Allahabad, India
4) Patna, India
5) Raipur, India
6) Bamenda, Cameroon
7) Xingtai, China
8) Baoding, China
9) Delhi, India