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India 5th Most Polluted Country In The World: Report

According to the World Air Quality Report 2019 compiled by IQAir Air Visual, Ghaziabad is the most polluted city in the world

February 25, 2020 05:49 pm | Updated February 26, 2020 01:12 am IST - New Delhi

Image for representative purposes only.

Image for representative purposes only.

India was the 5 most polluted country in 2019, with Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region ranked as the most polluted city in the world, according to a global compilation of PM 2.5 particulate pollution data by IQAir, a company that primarily works on air filtration.

On the whole, air pollution in India decreased in 2019 from 2018 though about half of the 50 most polluted cities were in India, the report notes. India launched a National Clean Air Programme in 2019 that commits to reducing air pollution in 102 most polluted cities by a maximum of 30% by 2024. The report however notes that the reduction in pollution in 2019 couldn't be attributed to the NCAP but rather was due to a “slowing of the market place.” The economic growth rate in India is expected to slow down to 5% in '19-20 from 6.1% in '18-'19 and 7% in '17-'18, according to the Economic Survey in January.

“Whilst cities in India, on average, exceed the World Health Organisation target for annual PM2.5 exposure by 500%, national air pollution decreased by 20% from 2018 to 2019, with 98% of cities experiencing improvements,” IQ Air said in a press statement.

Bangladesh was marked the most polluted country in 2019 with an average PM 2.5 concentration of 83 µg/m³. Pakistan came next with 65 µg/m³ and India recorded an average of 58.1 µg/m³. In the 2018 version of the IQAir report, the top two countries were the same and India was the third most polluted in the world with an average of 72 µg/m³.

In the 90 country/region-ranking, the Bahamas ranked the cleanest with an average of 3 µg/m³.

For the data, IQ Air relied on pollution recorded by sensors maintained by the government bodies—for India these were mostly the ones maintained by the Central and state pollution control boards—was well as monitoring stations maintained by private organisations.

“The new dataset highlights elevated air pollution levels as a result of climate change events, such as sandstorms and wildfires, and pollution gains from the rapid urbanization of cities, in regions such as Southeast Asia. While some achievements have been made in air quality monitoring infrastructure globally, there are still huge gaps in access to data around the world,” the press statement added.

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