However, the Government has made serious efforts to deal with air pollution.
Since 2016, over 1,000 additional cities have been added to WHO's database, which shows more countries are measuring and taking action to reduce air pollution than ever before. The Government has also taken several bold initiatives, including leap-frogging from BS-IV to BS-VI.
WHO's global urban air pollution database measured the levels of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from more than 4,300 cities in 108 countries, according to which ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.
The WHO says nine out of 10 people on the planet breathe polluted air, and it kills 7 million people each year, nearly all of them in poor countries in Asia and Africa.
Centre and state governments must respond to this data in meaningful ways, ensuring stringent action to comply with clean air standards - in all cities, particularly the ones on this dismaying list, topped by Kanpur followed by Faridabad, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Delhi, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur.
Similarly for PM10, the figures were 289 micrograms per cubic metre in 2016 and 268 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017. "Improving air quality demands sustained and coordinated government action at all levels", the World Health Organization said.
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The newspaper reports also highlight observations by various experts suggesting that action similar to that in Delhi and NCR be also taken in other polluted cities.
The data also reflects that monitoring in Indian cities has improved.
The report also said that more than 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries (including India), followed by low-and-middle income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and America. The report includes five cities from the state.
It asserted that action has been taken in Delhi and NCR, including the formulation of Graded Response Action Plan by CPCB, and referred to other measures, including a comprehensive action plan by the ministry, ban on petcoke in Delhi and NCR, and strict surveillance over coal-fired plants.
Besides, National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched by MoEFCC in April 2018 and this was preceded by Clean Air Programme in Delhi in February 2018 to sensitise the public in general and implementing agencies in particular.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.