Fourteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India as per figures compiled and released earlier this year by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Climate Trends, an Indian group working on environmental issues picked up the same 14 cities to analyse the CPCB data in summer and winter months for a comparative analysis — just to put it in context with the WHO children’s health report released on Monday which notes that 93% of the world’s children under 15 years breathe polluted air.
It says Delhi tops the charts of bad air quality nationally.
The report says India faces the highest air pollution-related mortality and disease burden in the world with more than 2 million deaths occurring prematurely every year, accounting for 25% of the global deaths due to poor air quality.
“This is as per the used data sets and it is important to note that for more than 20% of the days, the data was not available during the months of October 2017–January 2018,’’ the report states.
It adds that apart from Delhi, in most cities the online monitoring was happening with less than 4 monitoring stations and Srinagar had none. Delhi has close to 40 monitoring stations that display data online every day.
“Most cities, unlike Delhi do not have an emergency response plan to tackle air pollution. While some of the cities like Patna and Varanasi have recently formulated action plans, there are none in place to issue advisories or mitigate the pollution at the source level instantly as in the case of the Graded Response Action Plan,” states the report.
Meanwhile the summer-time pollution too this year was rampant as the regions around Delhi and NCR experienced dust storms coupled with problems of pollution at the local level.