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Pakistan, India Among Most Polluted Countries

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are among the countries with the worst air quality, according to a report, which was released this week by Greenpeace and IQAir AirVisual, a software company that tracks air quality data.

According to the report, Lahore, Bangladesh’s Dhaka and 15 cities of India together hold the top 20 spots in the category of cities with the most toxic air, making South Asian region the most toxic.

“At a country level, weighted by population, Bangladesh emerges as the most polluted country on average, closely followed by Pakistan and India,” the report said.

Gurugram, located southwest of India’s capital New Delhi, led all cities in pollution levels in 2018, even as its score improved from the previous year. Three other Indian cities joined Faisalabad, Pakistan, in the top five.

Both these countries, Pakistan and India, get heavily blanketed by the smog during winters.

Delhi’s pollution is often blamed on the traffic congestion and coal-fired stations and heavy industry, which surrounds the city.  Windblown dust, crop burning and household fuel burning are other major contributors.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced an inauguration of Nagpur Metro to “help reduce pollution and traffic jams”.

Meanwhile, Lahore is also surrounded by industries and oil-fired power plant. Similar to Delhi, crop burning and household fuel burning also contribute to pollution.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 4 million people around the world succumb to air pollution-related illnesses on an annual basis, due to toxic air quality levels that go well beyond the standard guidelines outlined by the WHO.

Courtesy: AFP

Many people criticised Pakistan and India for beating the drum of war in the region instead of waging a war against pollution.

A social media user wrote: “Top 15 polluted cities are in the subcontinent; 13 in India and two in Pakistan,” while criticising both the countries for raising alarms of war.

“War should be against pollution at least to breath healthy,” he said.

Another user said that Pakistan and India should be “ashamed” for the nuclear standoff, considering that both countries hold 19 out of 20 spots in the list of most polluted cities in the world.

“Citizens of both countries should be asking their governments to spend their tax dollars on pollution eradication,” he said.

 

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Naya Daur