The world's dirtiest air is in India, East Asia News & Top Stories

A cyclist protects himself with a handkerchief against air-pollution as he rides through smog at ITO Bridge in New Delhi

A cyclist protects himself with a handkerchief against air-pollution as he rides through smog at ITO Bridge in New Delhi

New Delhi was the world's most polluted capital city in 2018, two groups monitoring air pollution said on Tuesday in a study of the amount of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 in 61 capital cities around the world.

"The report is a reminder to us indicating that our efforts and actions to reduce the invisible killer, i.e., air pollution, are not enough and we need to do much more than already planned and done", said Pujarini Sen of Greenpeace India.

The city's average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 113.5 in 2018, the groups said in their report, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 50.9 during the year, making it the eighth most polluted in the world.

PM2.5 is a pollutant that can fester deep in the lungs and bloodstream of humans. Ghaziabad is no 2 with 135.2 micrograms per cubic metre and Faisalabad in Pakistan is third with 130.4 micrograms per cubic metre.

MIT's creepy four-legged robot can now do backflips
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According to the report, air pollution will cause around 7 million premature deaths globally next year and have a major economic impact.

"This [air pollution] has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets", said Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Yeb Sano in a statement. "In addition to human lives lost, there is a projected cost of dollar 225 billion in lost labor & trillions in medical costs".

The World Bank reckons as much as 8.5 per cent of India's GDP is racked up in health care costs and productivity losses due to pollution.

That should help the message President Xi Jinping will share with political party leaders on progress across three so-called "critical battles" during the National People's Congress meetings that start this week.

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