Kanpur Tops List of World’s Most Polluted Cities; India Home to 14

Kanpur is the most polluted city in the world, according to a WHO report, followed by Faridabad and Varanasi.

2 min read
Kanpur Tops List of World’s Most Polluted Cities; India Home to 14

The latest World Health Organization (WHO) report has confirmed what we have dreaded all along - India is one of the most polluted countries in the world. Using PM 2.5 levels as an index, the report stated that 14 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world are in India. Kanpur is the most polluted, followed by Faridabad and Varanasi on the second and third spots, respectively. The national capital, Delhi is on the sixth spot.

The remaining cities are Gaya, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala, Jodhpur and Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait.

The data was released on 2 May after looking at pollution levels of 4,300 cities in 2016.


What Are PM 2.5 Particles?

PM 2.5 includes particles that are small enough to be inhaled and penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system.
(Photo: AP)

Particulate matter, or PM, is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. These are classified according to their diameter. Particles less than 2.5 µm (micrometres) are called PM 2.5. They are approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair.

PM 2.5 includes particles that are small enough to be inhaled and penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system.

The health effects of inhalable PM are well documented, caused by exposure over both the short-term (hours, days) and long-term (months, years).

They include respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity such as aggravation of asthma, respiratory symptoms, and an increase in hospital admissions; and mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and from lung cancer.

Additionally, in 2015, 92 percent of the world's population lived in places where air quality levels exceeded WHO limits. Of the total, 86 percent of them lived in China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The same year, 4.2 million deaths were recorded globally due to air pollution, and China and India accounted for 50 percent of these deaths.

Outdoor air pollution causes 670,000 deaths annually in India, according to a 2014 research paper from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Air pollution has become a global concern with rising air pollution levels, as outdoor air pollution in cities and rural areas across the world estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012, according to the WHO.

(With inputs from media reports.)

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Topics:  Pollution   WHO   PM 2.5 

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