• Seven of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India, a study showing South Asia’s battle with deteriorating air quality and the economic toll it’s expected to take worldwide, stated on Tuesday.
• Gurugram led the most polluted cities in the world in 2018, with Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, and Bhiwadi in the top six worst-affected cities.
• What’s alarming, according to the report, is that air pollution is likely to cause the death of an estimated seven million lives globally in the next year while costing the world’s economy nearly $ 225 billion.
• The only non-Indian city in the top five list is Faisalabad, Pakistan.
• The index measures the presence of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, a pollutant that can fester deep in the lungs and bloodstream of human beings.
• This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets.
• In addition to human lives lost, there’s an estimated cost of $225 billion in lost labor, and trillions in medical costs.
Key impacts on Indian economy
• India, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, makes up 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities, with five in China, two in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh.
• India racks up health-care costs and productivity losses from pollution of as much as 8.5 percent of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.
• China made marked progress in its usually dismal pollution levels, with average concentrations falling by 12 percent in 2018 from the previous year, according to the data.
• That should help the message President Xi Jinping will share with political party leaders on progress across three so-called “ critical battles” during the National People’s Congress meetings that start this week.
Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Prelims level: World Air Quality Report 2018
Mains level: Ever increasing air pollution in India