NEW DELHI — The World Health Organisation (WHO) global air pollution database released in Geneva early Wednesday morning reveals that India has 14 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations, with the worst being Kanpur.
Greater Cairo in Egypt is the second most polluted city, followed by the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka. Beijing ranks fifth.
Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants are New Delhi, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait and a few cities in China and Mongolia.
The WHO data also said that nine out of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Globally, ambient air pollution caused by industries, cars and trucks, among others, caused 4.2 million deaths and indoor pollution caused 3.8 million deaths in 2016.
The report said, “While the latest data shows ambient air pollution levels are still dangerously high in most parts of the world, countries also show some positive progress.”
An analysis of particulate matter in the air showed about 90% of people across the world are exposed to bad air, which was linked to 7 million deaths in 2016, WHO found.
The analysis shows many smaller towns and cities in India also report pollution levels comparable to Delhi; the sheer population of Delhi, home to over 17 million people, compounds the health impact of air pollution.
Delhi consistently features in the list of most polluted cities globally and mitigation measures have tended to focus on the capital although other, smaller cities too confront toxic levels of pollution.
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.