According to new data from the World Health Organization, India now ranks in the top ten of the top 50 most polluted countries on earth, although it does rank better than many of its closest neighbors. Meanwhile, data from NASA show parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain to be some of the planet’s most polluted places.
According to the World Health Organization, India ranks in the top ten of the top 50 most polluted countries on earth.
While there is clearly huge room for improvement on a global scale, India does rank better than many of its closest neighbors, according to data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO’s database covers 1,600 cities across 91 countries, and shows that only 12 per cent of people live in cities that meet WHO air quality guidelines.
More than 800 cities in these countries reported fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter (PM2.5). Most of these cities reported unsafe levels of air pollution.
“The release of today’s data is a significant step in WHO’s ongoing work to advance a roadmap for preventing diseases related to air pollution,” said the WHO in a statement.
“This involves the development of a global platform on air quality and health to generate better data on air pollution-related diseases and strengthened support to countries and cities through guidance, information and evidence about the health gains associated with different activities.”
NASA Data Shows Toxic Air Threat Choking Indian Subcontinent
The mega-city of New Delhi has tried everything from banning diesel guzzling SUVs to taking about half the city’s cars off the streets in a fight against air pollution. Officials may yet have to do much, much more, based on National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite research. The research depicts how much sunlight is blocked by airborne particles, providing a proxy for levels of pollution. The data show parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain — stretching across northern India from eastern Pakistan on one side to Bangladesh on the other — suffer some of the planet’s worst haze in October through January after monsoon rains end in September.
On average during those months, as much as 10 times more solar beam was blocked over the plain from 2008 to 2014 compared with the U.S., signaling substantial concentrations in the air of the tiny, toxic PM2.5 particles that damage health. While New Delhi is heaving with millions of vehicles, exhaust-pipe emissions in cities in the densely populated plain are just part of a complex picture, according to Pawan Gupta, a research scientist at Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research in Greenbelt, Maryland.