India houses 7 out of 10 top polluting cities in the world

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Seven of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India, according to a new study by Swiss-based IQAir AirVisual and non-profit organisation Greenpeace.

"We want this report to make people think about the air we breathe, because when we understand the impacts of air quality on our lives, we will act to protect what's most important". India notches up health-care costs & productivity losses from contamination of as much as 8.5 % of GDP, according to the World Bank.

Air pollution, both outside and inside homes, is a silent and prolific killer responsible behind the premature death of seven million people each year, including 6,00,000 children, says David Boyd, a United Nations expert on environment and human rights. "This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets".

Countrywise, India ranks third on the world ranking for highest PM 2.5 concentration, which are tiny particles believed to the most harmful for human health.

The report, Global Air Pollution 2018, was officially released on Tuesday.

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The AirVisual and Greenpeace index was based on the quantity of PM2.5, registered previous year in tens of thousands of air-quality monitoring stations around the world.

Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said: 'Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures, but we can change that.

The fine particulate matters (PM2.5) considered in this study is notorious for its ability to penetrate deep into lungs and bloodstream causing serious long-term health complications leading to premature death. "Common contributors of pollutants in South Asia include vehicle exhaust, open crop and biomass burning, industrial emissions and coal combustion", explains the report. Of the countries analysed, Iceland emerged as the one with the cleanest air.

Seven of the top 10 polluted cities in 2018 were in India, including Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwandi, Noida, Patna and Lucknow. The acceptable levels of PM 2.5 are the finer and unsafe particulate matter of 60µg/m3. This has also created demand for air quality monitoring in cities or regions where no public data is available.

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