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Delhi continues to be most polluted city for third year in a row

NEW DELHI: Delhi has emerged the most polluted city in the World for the third consecutive year.
According to IQAir, a Swiss organisation that tests air quality standards based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5, New Delhi was the world’s most polluted city for the third year in a row in 2020.

According to IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Study, that gathered data for 106 countries, India is home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities.

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The results were based on the annual estimate of particulate matter PM2.5, which are airborne particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 can result in fatal diseases such as cancer and heart attacks.

According to the report, New Delhi’s average annual PM2.5 concentration in a cubic metre of air was 84.1 in 2020, more than double level of Beijing, which averaged 37.5 during the year, making it the world’s 14th most polluted capital.

According to a recent report by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Research and IQAir, air pollution caused an estimated 54,000 premature deaths in New Delhi in 2020.

Despite an 11 per cent reduction in annual average PM2.5 levels due to nationwide coronavirus lockdown curbs enforced last year, India was ranked third most contaminated country in the world, behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“India’s air pollution remains dangerously high,” the report said.

According to the report, South Asia experienced some of the worst air quality on record in 2020.

PM2.5 levels in Delhi averaged 144 micrograms per cubic metre in November and 157 micrograms per cubic metre in December, exceeding the World Health Organisation’s annual exposure guideline by more than 14 times, the study said.

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