Along with the death toll arising with these pollution figures, there's an estimated cost of Dollars 225 billion in lost labour and trillions in medical costs.
Gurugram in the National Capital Region was the most polluted city in the world in 2018, according to a new study by Swiss-based company IQAir AirVisual and non-profit organisation Greenpeace. The first 50 cities in the list are from India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Correction: A previous version of this story used the wrong map projection and colors to represent air quality. The graphic has been updated.
While the Asian economic powerhouse still accounted for 22 of the 50 most polluted cities worldwide, its capital, Beijing, showed a marked improvement on 2017 levels of pollution, with the average annual presence of particulates falling by more than 13 percent a year ago. Delhi NCR is the most polluted region in the world.
PM 2.5 is the calculation of the fine particulate matter.
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"Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures", said Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. While the research shows that no level of exposure is safe, the WHO standard of 10 units indicates the mean exposure threshold to minimise the health impacts. Since many cities, particularly in Africa, do not have up-to-date public air quality information, the actual number of cities exceeding PM2.5 thresholds is expected to be much higher, the report authors said.
The report blamed pollution in Southeast Asia on the burning of biomass and vehicular emissions.
The 2018 World Air Quality Report is based on data accumulated from over 3,000 cities around the globe.
But 64 percent of the cities surveyed exceeded this guideline.
In urban areas, there is a strong correlation between transportation and industry and air pollution, it said.
Tuesday's report highlighted improved air quality levels elsewhere in Asia, however, with Chinese cities in particular registering a 12 percent fall in average PM2.5 concentrations since 2017.