India dominates list of world's most polluted cities

In this file photo taken on September 26, 2018 Indian commuters walk amid air pollution in New Delhi. India dominated a list of the world's most polluted cities in 2018, taking 22 of the top 30 spots, according to a Greenpeace report. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2019
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India dominates list of world's most polluted cities

  • Air pollution is estimated to contribute to 7 million premature deaths every year
  • Cities in China, Pakistan and Bangladesh were also placed in the top 30

NEW DELHI: India dominated a list of the world's most polluted cities in 2018, taking 22 of the top 30 spots, according to a Greenpeace report.
Air pollution is estimated to contribute to 7 million premature deaths every year and is considered by the United Nations to be the single biggest environmental health risk.
While Delhi was again named the capital with the dirtiest air, in tenth place, neighbouring business city Gurugram, which in 2016 changed its name from Gurgaon, took the not-so-coveted top spot.
Cities in China, Pakistan and Bangladesh were also placed in the top 30.
The 2018 World Air Quality Report, compiled by Greenpeace and IQAir AirVisual, used air pollution data from tens of thousands of public and private monitoring stations across the world to rank over 3,000 cities from dirtiest down to cleanest.
At a country level, weighted by population, Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted country on average, closely followed by Pakistan and India, with Afghanistan and Mongolia also within the top 10.
"In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated global cost of 225 billion dollars in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs," said Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia.
"This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets."
The report looked at measurements of fine particles known as PM2.5, which can penetrate into the airways to cause respiratory problems.
Of the over 3,000 cities included in the list, 64 percent exceeded the World Health Organisation's annual exposure guideline for PM2.5.
Average concentrations of the pollutant in Chinese cities fell by 12 percent from 2017 to 2018. Beijing now ranks as the 122nd most polluted city in the world.
"In recent times, East Asia has demonstrated a strong correlation between rapid economic development and increased air pollution," the report found.
It added that as the need to reduce air pollution has become more pressing in countries like China, "extensive monitoring networks and air pollution reduction policies have been put into place."
The report also highlighted a lack of public information on air quality, particularly in Africa and South America.
Real-time information is a "cornerstone in generating public awareness and driving action to combat air pollution in the long-term," it added.


ICC prosecutor: examination of Philippines continues despite withdrawal

More than 5,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in police anti-narcotics operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016. (AP)
Updated 58 sec ago
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ICC prosecutor: examination of Philippines continues despite withdrawal

  • Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda: ICC continues to have jurisdiction over possible crimes committed during the period the country was a member
  • The ICC procedure was ‘political persecution’ of Duterte, presidential spokesperson said
AMSTERDAM/MANILA: The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said on Monday her examination into possible crimes against humanity committed in the Philippines would go on, despite its withdrawal from the court.
The Philippines’ withdrawal from the Hague court was formalized on Sunday.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the ICC continued to have jurisdiction over possible crimes committed during the period the country was a member.
Bensouda has been examining whether thousands of extrajudicial killings allegedly committed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drugs are sufficient to warrant a formal investigation.
Duterte’s spokesman said the ICC had no basis to continue its preliminary examination and the government would not cooperate with it.
“They cannot enter here if that is their purpose, to investigate. You are already intruding into our sovereignty,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a regular news conference on Tuesday.
More than 5,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in police anti-narcotics operations since Duterte took office in June 2016.
Rights groups and critics say some of the killings were summary executions. Police deny such allegations, saying they had to use deadly force because the suspects were armed and resisted arrest.
The Philippines unilaterally withdrew from the ICC in March 2018 over what Duterte called “outrageous” attacks and violations of due process by it.
“We have already pointed out that in this country we have a judicial system that is robust and functional and very effective,” Panelo said.
The ICC procedure was “political persecution” of Duterte, he said.