Why in News?
The WHO global air pollution database reveals that India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations, with the worst being Kanpur.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
Compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the statistics on 4,300 cities reveal annual levels of particulate matter, minuscule particles in the air that can lead to health conditions such as asthma, lung cancer or heart disease.
i)Urban air is unsafe almost everywhere -Smog in Beijing and Delhi often makes the headlines, but this data shows that urban air is unsafe almost everywhere. WHO estimates that nine in ten people worldwide are breathing highly polluted air.
ii)Beijing is not the global capital of smog it once was-it doesn’t even make the list of the world’s 100 most polluted cities anymore. In 2013, it ranked as the 40th worst city for the particulate PM2.5, but four years on it’s in spot 187. In the 62 Chinese cities for which the WHO has data in both 2013 and 2016, levels dropped by an average of 30%.
Much of this is down to China’s national air pollution action plan, which ran from 2012 to 2017.
iii)Of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 15 are in India-When comparing the latest available data on PM2.5 levels for each city, the northern Indian cities of Gwalior, Kanpur and Faridabad are the worst.
The other countries with entries in the list of 20 most polluted cities are Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, Serbia, Cameroon and Egypt.
NOTE4STUDENTS-The Indian government recently announced a National Clean Air Plan, strengthening air quality monitoring and requiring the 100 most polluted cities to devise their own action plans. However, the draft plan does not set targets or timelines for reducing air pollution levels. The government is also finally moving to implement emission standards for coal-fired power plants.
Source-The Times Of India.