6 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India

indians_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Six of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India.
  • New Delhi has the worst air pollution of any capital city.
  • Air pollution kills 1.25 million people in India every year.

India’s capital is home to some of the country’s best-known landmarks, like the Red Fort, India Gate and the Parliament Building. The trouble is, they’re often hidden in a haze of smog blanketing the city.

New Delhi faces some of the worst air pollution of any global capital, according to the latest World Air Quality Report from IQAir. And Indian cities make up six of the world’s 10 most-polluted urban areas.

Tackling the challenge

Air pollution is a big problem in India – researchers say it kills more than 1 million in the country every year. On average its cities exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the amount of particulate pollution (PM2.5) in the atmosphere by 500%, according to the IQAir report.

Air pollution
Top 10 worst polluted cities in the world, according to IQAir.
Image: World Air Quality Report 2019, IQAir

Fine particulates, specks of dust and soot 30 times smaller than a human hair, cause stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, according to the WHO, which estimates air pollution claims 4.2 million lives worldwide annually. In total, 90% of the world’s population breathe harmful air.

New Delhi’s problems are caused by fumes from its sclerotic traffic and accentuated by diesel generators and the burning of fossil fuels in cooking by less-well-off families. Industry plays its part, as does the burning of waste and farmers setting fields alight after crops are harvested.

Giridhar Babu, a professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, told The Lancet the poorest communities are the most vulnerable to air pollution, as they often live or work close to highly industrialized or commercial locations.

India is making some progress in this area, thanks in part to its National Clean Air Programme which aims to reduce air pollution levels by up to 30% by 2024. The country is also planning what it calls the world’s largest expansion of renewable energy by 2022.

Beijing’s rapid turnaround

China is another country determined to tackle air pollution in its cities. Its capital, Beijing, once one of the most polluted cities on the planet, has dropped out of IQAir’s rankings of the top 200 most polluted cities.

Air pollution in the city has fallen sharply since it hosted the Olympic Games in 2008, driven by controls on coal-fired boilers and tighter rules on industry. China’s own emission standards for cars and vans will mirror the latest European standards.

Particulate levels in Beijing have halved in the last decade and sulphur dioxide dropped by 83% between 2013 and 2017. Its clean air efforts have been hailed as a model for other cities to follow by the UN Environment Programme.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the future of cities?

Cities represent humanity’s greatest achievements – and greatest challenges. From inequality to air pollution, poorly designed cities are feeling the strain as 68% of humanity is predicted to live in urban areas by 2050.

The World Economic Forum supports a number of projects designed to make cities cleaner, greener and more inclusive.

These include hosting the Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization, which gathers bright ideas from around the world to inspire city leaders, and running the Future of Urban Development and Services initiative. The latter focuses on how themes such as the circular economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed to create better cities. To shed light on the housing crisis, the Forum has produced the report Making Affordable Housing a Reality in Cities.

China is also currently investing more in solar energy than any other nation, accounting for 45% of all global investment in solar. By 2024 it is expected to be generating twice as much power from solar as the US.

Although Chinese cities achieved a 9% drop in particulate levels in 2019, though, 98% of the nation’s urban areas still exceed WHO guidelines and 53% also exceed China’s less stringent national targets.

To be sure, pollution – and tracking its impact – is a major problem around the globe and not just an issue in India and China. Pakistan also made IQAir’s top rankings, for instance.

Additionally, as IQAir explains, many populations around the world still lack access to real-time air pollution data, especially within Africa and the Middle East.

To address this, according to IQAir a range of global citizens and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are attempting to fill in data gaps with their own data sensors.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020 highlights the dangers posed by air pollution and records that 90% of millennials (people born after 1980) expect the health effects caused by it to worsen in 2020.

The Forum’s Alliance for Clean Air, which brings together the public and private sectors to tackle air pollution, plans to leverage $20 million to fund projects to address the problem.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Neelie Kroes at the European Young Innovators Forum: Unconvention 2014

Deeper reforms in Korea will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

France-Germany: Divided in Europe, USA united in…Iran

‘Uphold human dignity’, dismantle ‘specious notion of racial superiority’ urges UN chief

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

These are the 5 most exciting cycling projects in the world

EU Budgets: Europe hoping for Xmas gifts

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

Eurobarometer survey: Majority of EU citizens positive about international trade

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

An Eastern Wind

4 key ways countries can finance their SDG ambitions

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum 2019 concluded, in association with The European Sting

This one small change could transform education for millions

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Why this city is paying people to move there

Independent rights experts sound alarm at Iran protest crackdown, internet blackout

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

Talking the talk: the voice-recognition disruptors looking to outsmart big tech

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Tunisia coastline in need of climate cash boost

Mine ban agreement ‘has saved countless lives’, but ‘accelerated efforts’ needed to end scourge for good: Guterres

Eurozone: Bankers-politicians rig keeps robbing taxpayers

GSMA Announces First Keynote Speakers for 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

This study wants every child in the UK to spend a night under the stars

‘Champion for multilateralism’ readies to hand over UN General Assembly gavel

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Youth leaders share positive visions of the future, as Guterres launches UN75 in New York

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Get off the path of deadly emissions, UN chief Guterres to urge in key climate change speech

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Free trade agreement between EU and India?

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

Humane leadership must be the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s real innovation

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds: UNICEF

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

Libya: UN report urges accountability for deadly attack against migrant centre

Greece to stay in the euro area but the cost to its people remains elusive

Passwords should become a thing of the past. Here’s why

How tech can lead reskilling in the age of automation

3 ways governments and carmakers can keep up with the future of transport

In Sweden you can roam anywhere you like, without the landowner’s permission

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

State aid: Commission approves Danish public financing of Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s