According to a recent report released by the State of Global Air (SoGA), 18 of 20 cities in India were found to be severely hit by the particulate pollutants-PM2.5 from the year 2010 till 2019. Delhi and Kolkata were named as the most polluted cities.
A detailed study on air pollution and global health effects were conducted for over 7,000 cities across the world. The report titled ‘Air Quality & Health in Cities’ collected ground-based data over the quality of air through satellites and models for observing air quality estimates across the selected number of cities across the globe.
The report carried the data from the year 2010 till 2019 considering the effects of two of the most hazardous pollutants- fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and NO2.
According to the report, PM2.5 became the individual reason for the cause of death of nearly 1.7 million people across 7,239 cities that included regions across Asia, Africa, and Eastern & Central Europe. The fine particle pollution had an uneven impact across major regions of the world.
The report also cited that- ‘In the 20 cities with highest PM2.5 exposures among 103 cities, residents in cities from India, Nigeria, Peru, and Bangladesh are exposed to PM2.5 levels that are several-fold higher than the global averages. Only four of these cities (i.e., Suva, Fuji; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Havana, Cuba) met the WHO annual PM2.5 Air Quality Guideline of 5 µg /m3 in 2019.
India is home to as many as 41 of 50 cities where there’s a severe increase in PM2.5, whereas around 20 Chinese cities witnessed a great decrease in PM2.5 from the year 2010 to 2019.
The report found an exclusive observation that the exposures to PM2.5 pollution were mostly higher in cities located in low-and middle-income countries of the world.
Any level of pollution (low-medium-high) could pose severe and adverse effects on human health including life expectancy, missed school and work, and could lead to death in the worst scenario.