14 of world's 20 most polluted cities in India

A toxic haze engulfed Delhi for more than a week in November 2017

"The government has made serious efforts to deal with air pollution".

During these months, in addition to local emissions, there was a substantial contribution from regional sources, including smoke due to stubble burning in neighbouring states and dust from the Gulf countries, it said.

Netizens cry in alarm as 14 Indian cities rank among top 20 world's most polluted cities. The Government has also taken several bold initiatives, including leap-frogging from BS-IV to BS-VI.

The report has been made on the basis of the global urban air pollution database that measured the levels of fine particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 which means particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 micrometres, respectively in different cities of the world.

In a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), both the cities figured in the list of more than 4,300 most polluted cities of 108 countries in the world.

Similarly, for PM 10 the figures were 289 micrograms per cubic metre in the year 2016 and 268 micrograms per cubic metre in the year 2017.

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Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were Kanpur, 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 also said that the countries are also taking the required measures to curb the negative effects.

WHO's global assessment is based on satellite data and modeling overlaid on the database of cities, which is self-selecting because it is based on voluntary reporting, with numbers that have been hugely revised since the previous report. As a follow-up, 94 non-attainment cities were also asked to prepare detailed action plans for improving upon air quality depending on their local conditions. Subsequently, out of 94 non-attainment cities, action plans for 61 cities have already been received and concerned States have been requested to steer implementation of action plans in these cities.

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.

This comes even as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had recently claimed that air pollution levels improved in 2017 as compared to 2016.

Women and young children are among the most vulnerable, particularly household air pollution from the use of wood, animal dung and crop waste as cooking fuels.

It also referred to the launch of a mobile app - SAMEER - for grievance redressal.

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