In what can be a warning sign for Asia and the world, 94 out of 100 most polluted cities in the world were located in India, Pakistan and China with India making up for largest chunk of the total.
As per IQAir’s 2020 air quality index, India had 46 of the world 100 most polluted cities. This was followed by China (42), Pakistan (6), Bangladesh (4). It’s worth noting that almost all of these countries are in South Asian region.
As per the rankings, Ghaziabad was the most polluted city in India. The Chinese city of Hotan was the most polluted city for China while in Pakistan, Lahore grabbed the top spot. Lahore often features in the list of most polluted cities in the world.
China and India are some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters but air pollution has worsened in Pakistan as well, in recent years.
“Children are experiencing breathing diseases… for God’s sake, find a solution,” labourer Muhammad Saeed told AFP.
“We are poor people, can’t even afford a doctor’s charges,” shopkeeper said.
“We can only plead with them to control the pollution. I am not a literate person, but I have read that Lahore has the worst air quality and then comes India’s Delhi. If it continues like this, we will die.”
“Before, I used to come (for a walk) with my children but now I don’t bring them out with me,” Saeed the labourer said.
“There are factories and small industries operating here, either shift them somewhere else, give them compensation or provide them with modern technology, so we can get rid of this smog.”
Air pollution continues to present one of the world’s biggest health hazards to people everywhere, contributing to about 7 million premature deaths annually. 600,000 of these deaths are children.
Compounding this staggering health crisis, air pollution is estimated to cost the global economy upwards of $2.9 trillion per year due to fossil fuel emissions alone, while also contributing to a range of severe environmental problems.
All these cities had a PM2.5 air-quality rating of over 50. Nine out of the top 10 most polluted cities are in India. Hotan, in China’s Xinjiang, had the worst average air quality in 2020, with 110.2.