New Delhi is world's most polluted capital, Beijing eighth

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Residents in India's capital city were exposed to more than ten times the safe amount of air pollution on an average day, a study has shown.

In a statement released with the figures, the executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Yeb Sano said, "This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets". Gurugram becomes the world's most polluted city with an annual average PM 2.5 reading of 135.8 micrograms per cubic metre.

According to the report given out by Greenpeace, India has highlighted that the alarming increase in air pollution may cause 7 million premature deaths globally next year due to unequal distribution of PM2.5 particles contributing to air pollution. PM 2.5 includes pollutants such as sulphate, nitrate and black carbon. Average concentrations in the cities in China fell by 12% from 2017 to 2018.

"Beijing is showing us that it can be done, as have many other cities in Europe and the United States over past decades". India has a lot of cities with high levels of pollution.

When ranked by country, Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted followed by Pakistan and India respectively.

In Southeast Asia, Hanoi was the second most polluted city behind Jakarta, Indonesia, which had a PM2.5 level of 45.3.

Of the over 3,000 cities included in the list, 64 percent exceeded the World Health Organisation's annual exposure guideline for PM2.5. Accompanying the report is an extended display of all the cities on the most-polluted list and their relative air qualities across different regions and sub-regions in 2018.

The AirVisual and Greenpeace index was based on the quantity of PM2.5, registered past year in tens of thousands of air-quality monitoring stations around the world.

What's adding more fuel to the fire are the amplifying effects of climate change on air pollution. 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.

AirVisual and Greenpeace said the reduction was a result of the "extensive monitoring networks" and effective "air pollution reduction policies" rolled out by Chinese authorities in recent years.