Report 9 : The recent World Bank report on leveraging urbanisation in South Asia has identified “air pollution” as a immense threat for major cities in the region, including Delhi. As Delhi is the worst among 381 cities from developing countries, 19 of the 20 most polluted cities are from South Asia, the report said quoting the latest findings of World Health Organisation report on ambient air pollution.
According to the report “very poorest in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, under-five mortality is higher in urban areas than in rural settings”.
Mentioning the WHO report pertaining to the level of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 in the ambient air in cities, the World Bank uttered that of all the sources of blockage associated with the swelling of cities, one of the most significant cause for health and human well being is ambient air pollution from vehicle emissions and the burning of fossil fuels by industry. High concentrations of minute particulate matter, especially that of 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM 2.5), which seeps deep into the lungs, increases the chances of asthma, lung cancer, severe respiratory illness, and heart disease.
“Delhi is far from unique in South Asia in having dangerously high concentrations of PM2.5. Among a global sample of 381 developing-country cities, 19 of the 20 with the highest annual mean concern trations are in South Asia.And the issue is not just in India -Karachi, Dhaka, and Kabul all feature in the top 20,”reported by the World Bank.
It stated, given the lack of availability of and access to clean public transport in India, one can assume that, for any given expansion in demand for mobility associated with a given increase in population density, it will further the air pollution there than elsewhere.