The Indian capital has once again been found to be the world’s most polluted city and Mumbai is fourth, according to air quality data compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for megacities with a population of 14 million or more. Greater Cairo in Egypt is the second most polluted city, followed by the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka. Beijing ranks fifth, reports said.
An analysis of particulate matter in the air showed about 90% of people across the world are exposed to bad air, which was linked to 7 million deaths in 2016, WHO found. Globally, ambient air pollution — caused by industries, cars and trucks, among others, caused 4.2 million deaths and indoor pollution caused 3.8 million deaths in 2016.
India also suffers under the weight of the dual burden of ambient and indoor air pollution. The analysis shows many smaller towns and cities in India also report pollution levels comparable to Delhi; the sheer population of Delhi, home to over 17 million people, compounds the health impact of air pollution.
Delhi consistently features in the list of most polluted cities globally and mitigation measures have tended to focus on the capital although other, smaller cities too confront toxic levels of pollution. The government and judiciary have proactively led the battle against pollution. India is to switch to Bharat Stage VI vehicle emission norms in April 2020 , skipping an intermediate stage.
Although the environment ministry released its much-awaited draft National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to tackle air pollution across the country in April and opened it up for public feedback until May 17, it has contested the count of air pollution deaths in India by global agencies, noting that they are based on estimations and not on primary data from the country.