New Delhi: Despite showing an improvement from the previous year, Gurugram, located in the National Capital Region, is the world's most polluted city, according to data released by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace. On the list, India makes up seven of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world. The report highlights South Asia's struggle with deteriorating air quality and the economic impact it's likely to have on the rest of the world.
The index measures the presence of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, a pollutant that can fester deep in the lungs and bloodstream of human beings. The Indian cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Bhiwadi joined Pakistan's Islamabad in the top five.
"This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets," Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in a statement released with the figures. "In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated cost of US$ 225 billion in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs."
Noida, Patna and Lucknow are the other Indian cities in the top 10, along with Hotan, China, and Pakistan's Lahore and Faisalabad completing the list. Moreover, India also makes up 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities, with five cities located in China, two in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh.
India, the fastest-growing major economy in the world, has accumulated productivity losses and healthcare expenses from pollution of as much as 8.5 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.
With average concentrations dropping by 12 percent last year from the year before that, China has made substantial progress in its usually dismal pollution levels, according to the study.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia director, Sano pointed out that burning fossil fuels resulted in drastic climate change and air pollution around the globe, with shifting atmospheric conditions making air quality worse.