IQ AIR AIRVISUAL AND GREENPEACE REPORT
06, Mar 2019
Prelims level : Mains level : GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Gurugram led all cities in pollution levels in 2018 according to data released by IQ Air AirVisual and Greenpeace. Three other Indian cities joined Faisalabad, Pakistan, in the top five.
- The Greenpeace and AirVisual analysis of air pollution readings from 3,000 cities around the world found that 64% exceed the World Health Organization’s annual exposure guideline for PM2.5 fine particulate matter – tiny airborne particles, about a 40th of the width of a human hair, that are linked to a wide range of health problems.
- Every single measured city in the Middle East and Africa exceeds the WHO guidelines, as well as 99% of cities in south Asia and 89% in east Asia. Since many cities, particularly in Africa, do not have up-to-date public air quality information, the actual number of cities exceeding PM2.5 thresholds is expected to be much higher, the report authors said.
- The report is based on 2018 air quality data from public monitoring sources, such as government monitoring networks, supplemented with validated data from outdoor IQAir AirVisual monitors operated by private individuals and organisations.
- India dominates the top of the list. The tech hub of Gurugram, a city just to the south-west of Delhi which was previously known as Gurgaon, and where international firms including Uber and TripAdvisor have headquarters, ranked the most polluted in the world with an average of more than 135 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre (µg/m3) throughout the year. Delhi is ranked 11th.
- Twenty-two of the world’s 30 worst cities for air pollution are in India, according to a new report, with Delhi again ranked the world’s most polluted capital.
- Faisalabad in Pakistan is ranked third with 130 (µg/m3), with Lahore 10th. Dhaka in Bangladesh is ranked 17th. The only other country to feature in the top 30 is China, which appears five times, including Hotan in the western Xinjiang province (eighth) and the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar (19th). The highest-ranking capital cities are Delhi, Dhaka and Kabul in Afghanistan (52nd). The Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, is the most polluted European city with an annual average of 38.4 µg/m3. London is the 48th most polluted capital with 12.0 µg/m3 and Washington DC 56th with 9.2 µg/m3.
- The problem is particularly pronounced in South Asia. South Asian countries, along with China, are the worst affected, air pollution is a global issue.
- Eighteen of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities are in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, including the major population centers of Lahore, Delhi and Dhaka, which placed 10th, 11th and 17th respectively last year. Climate change “is making the effects of air pollution worse by changing atmospheric conditions and amplifying forest fires,” the report said, while noting that the key driver of global warming, burning fossil fuels, is also a major cause of dirty air.
- What is clear is that the common cause across the globe is the burning of fossil fuels coal, oil and gas worsened by the cutting down of our forests.