HomeNewsAsia Dominates the Global Pollution Scene – One Country Shockingly Home to 83 of the 100 Filthiest Cities!

Asia Dominates the Global Pollution Scene – One Country Shockingly Home to 83 of the 100 Filthiest Cities!

As environmental concerns continue to escalate, attention is shifting towards some of the worst impacted regions. Asia currently houses the 100 most polluted cities around the globe, according to a recent report by Greenpeace and AirVisual. However, it becomes stunning when 83 out of these 100 are located in just one country – India.

India is grappling with a major public health crisis, with 22 out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world. This phenomenon is attributed to various causes, the foremost being heavy dependence on fossil fuels like coal for power generation and an exponentially rising number of vehicles on the roads. Industrial emissions, rapid urbanization, and deforestation also contribute prominently to this pollution surge.

In particular, cities like Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwandi, and Noida persistently top the charts as the world’s most polluted urban areas, with particulate matter (PM) concentrations well above global safety standards. Prolonged exposure to PM, such as those less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5), is associated with severe health issues, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.

To illustrate, Gurugram, a financial and industrial hub near New Delhi, recorded an average annual PM 2.5 concentration at 135.8 micrograms per cubic meter in 2019. This is more than 13 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization guidelines, which recommend a maximum of 10.

It’s worth noting that this pollution is not only a concern for the environment but also for the human population residing in these areas. India has one of the highest death rates due to air pollution – estimated over 1.67 million deaths in 2019, as per a report by The Lancet Planetary Health.

Policy measures and initiative launches have been attempted in India to combat its skyrocketing pollution levels. These initiatives include the National Clean Air Programme, launched in 2019, aiming to reduce key air pollutant levels by 20-30% by 2024. However, experts argue that efforts are not enough, and a paradigm shift is needed in Indian environmental policy and citizen behavior.

Close behind India, other Asian countries, including Bangladesh and Pakistan, are also suffering from severe air quality issues. Nine cities from Bangladesh feature in the top 100, while Pakistan’s Lahore and Faisalabad rank within the top 10 most polluted cities globally.

But none of these Asian counterparts compare to the stark situation in India, where an urgent need for massive policy reform, industrial regulation, and societal change remains crucial. The fight against air pollution in Asia, especially in India, continues to be a daunting yet vital challenge.

It is clear that the Indian subcontinent, in particular, and Asia at large, face significant struggles with air quality. There is a call for countries worldwide to lend their support, expertise, and resources to mitigate this escalating ecological and public health crisis. Without substantial and prompt action, the landscape of these mainly Asian cities and the health of their populations are at considerable risk.

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