New Delhi is world's most polluted capital followed by Dhaka

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'In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated global cost of $225billion in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs'.

Countrywise, India ranks third on the world ranking for highest PM 2.5 concentration, which are tiny particles believed to the most harmful for human health.

This comes when India already has the most number of real-time data coverage centers, monitoring the air quality index around the country. The study also showed South Asia's fight with worsening air quality and the economic toll it is expected to take worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates seven million people are killed every year due to air pollution, while non-fatal effects of over-exposure to PM2.5 include irregular heartbeats, aggravated asthma and decreased lung function, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Delhi remains the most polluted capital across the world in 2018, as per a study conducted by the environment NGO Greenpeace. Average concentrations in cities in China fell by 12% from 2017 to 2018, and Beijing was the 122nd most polluted city in the world past year.

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The executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said that these high pollution numbers can have enormous impacts on health and even our wallets.

The calculations were made considering the presence of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 in the atmosphere and 3000 cities were evaluated. Gurugram in 2018 too had topped the list in pollution levels.

Broadening the study to 3,000 cities located all around the world, they found that the worst offenders were in India and China.

"A lot of households in South Asia rely on solid fuels, sometimes biomass, often coal, for their cooking and heating ... and there are often cities with large scale industries with poor emissions controls", he added.

In urban areas, there is a strong correlation between transportation and industry and air pollution, it said. On the other hand, Chinese cities have seen a marked improvement. The programme launched this January aims to reduce air pollution by 20-30% from the current level in 102 cities across the country by 2024. This has also created demand for air quality monitoring in cities or regions where no public data is available.

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