Delhi is not the most polluted city in the world. But that's hardly any reason to cheer. The WHO global air pollution database released in Geneva early Wednesday morning reveals that India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations, with the worst being Kanpur.
Despite public outcry over severe air pollution, and both Centre and Delhi government taking up the issue, WHO's database of more than 4,000 cities in 100 countries shows that Delhi's pollution levels improved only marginally between 2010 and 2014 but started deteriorating again in 2015, reports TOI.
In 2016, the latest year in WHO's database, Delhi was in sixth spot, having recorded its highest pollution levels in six years.
The city's PM 2.5 annual average was 143 micrograms per cubic metre, more than three times the national safe standard, while the PM 10 average was 292 micrograms per cubic metre, more than 4.5 times the national standard.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had recently claimed that air pollution levels improved in 2017 as compared to 2016. The board, however, hasn't released the annual average PM 2.5 concentration for 2017 yet.
A number of policies came into effect towards the end of 2016 - the graded response action plan (GRAP) in October, doubling of the environment compensation charge (ECC) on trucks in December 2015 and better coordination among NCR states on pollution control.
The WHO report, however, doesn't reflect this because it considers annual PM 10 and PM 2.5 averages between 2010 and 2016. Delhi unable to keep pace with Beijing in bad-air fight.