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No Country Met WHO Air Quality Standards In 2021: Data

The WHO recommends that average annual readings of small and hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 should be no more than 5 micrograms per cubic metre after changing its guidelines last year, saying that even low concentrations caused significant health risks

No Country Met WHO Air Quality Standards In 2021: Data
India's overall pollution levels worsened in 2021, as per the latest survey of pollution data in 6,475 cities
Highlights
  • 93 cities saw PM2.5 levels at 10 times the recommended level
  • New Delhi remained the world's most polluted capital: Data
  • Bangladesh was the most polluted country, like last year: Data

Shanghai: Not a single country managed to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality standard in 2021, a survey of pollution data in 6,475 cities showed on Tuesday (March 22), and smog even rebounded in some regions after a COVID-related dip. The WHO recommends that average annual readings of small and hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 should be no more than 5 micrograms per cubic metre after changing its guidelines last year, saying that even low concentrations caused significant health risks. But only 3.4 per cent of the surveyed cities met the standard in 2021, according to data compiled by IQ Air, a Swiss pollution technology company that monitors air quality. As many as 93 cities saw PM2.5 levels at 10 times the recommended level.

Also Read: 96 Cities See Improved Air Quality As Government Takes Steps To Check Pollution: Economic Survey 2022

There are a lot of countries that are making big strides in reduction, said Christi Schroeder, air quality science manager with IQ Air. China started with some very big numbers and they are continuing to decrease over time. But there are also places in the world where it is getting significantly worse.

India’s overall pollution levels worsened in 2021 and New Delhi remained the world’s most polluted capital, the data showed. Bangladesh was the most polluted country, also unchanged from the previous year, while Chad ranked second after the African country’s data was included for the first time.

China, which has been waging war on pollution since 2014, fell to 22nd in the PM2.5 rankings in 2021, down from 14th place a year earlier, with average readings improving slightly over the year to 32.6 micrograms, IQAir said.

Hotan in the northwestern region of Xinjiang was China’s worst performing city, with average PM2.5 readings of more than 100 micrograms, largely caused by sandstorms.

It fell to third on the list of the world’s most polluted cities after being overtaken by Bhiwadi and Ghaziabad, both in India.

Also Read: Phase Down From Coal As Main Source Of Energy, Invest More In Renewables: ICMR And Lancet Report

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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