New Delhi is world’s most polluted capital for second straight year: study

New Delhi’s toxic air is caused by vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites, smoke from the burning of rubbish and crop residue in nearby fields. (AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2020

New Delhi is world’s most polluted capital for second straight year: study

  • India is also home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, IQ AirVisual says in a study
  • A spike in air pollution levels forced authorities to shut schools twice last year

NEW DELHI: New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital city for the second straight year in 2019, according to a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally.
India was also home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, IQ AirVisual said in the study which focused on the amount of PM2.5, fine particulate matter, in major urban areas.
The study measured the concentration of poisonous PM2.5, particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can be carried deep into the lungs, as higher PM2.5 levels could cause deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems.
In 2019, New Delhi’s average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 98.6, the study said, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 42.1 during the year, making it the ninth most polluted city in the world.
New Delhi’s toxic air is caused by vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites, smoke from the burning of rubbish and crop residue in nearby fields.


Last year, residents of New Delhi, home to more than 20 million people, could breathe “moderate” to “satisfactory” air only for four days in November and December, when pollution levels peaked.
Late last year, the spike in air pollution levels forced authorities, who termed the crisis as a public health emergency, to shut schools twice.
The study, however, said India did see “widespread improvements” in PM2.5 levels in 2019 compared to a year earlier, largely due to favorable meteorological conditions, government efforts to clean the air and an overall economic slowdown.
“Despite improvements, India still faces serious air pollution challenges,” the study said.

 


China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases

Updated 34 min 27 sec ago

China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases

  • Chinese health commission said all but one of the new cases was imported from abroad
  • China has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of COVID-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease

BEIJING: China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported 36 new COVID-19 cases, one day after announcing that asymptomatic cases will now be included in the official count.
The commission said all but one of the new cases was imported from abroad, while seven more deaths from the disease had been reported over the previous 24 hours. The commission did not say if any of the new cases were asymptomatic but on Tuesday reported that, of a total of 1,541 asymptomatic cases now being isolated and monitored for symptoms, 205 had come from overseas.
The move to disclose the number of asymptomatic cases comes amid scrutiny of China’s reported figures, which previously only included people who exhibited symptoms. While the proportion of people who have contracted the virus but remain asymptomatic is currently unknown, scientists say these “carriers” can still pass COVID-19 onto others who do end up getting sick.
As China’s domestic outbreak has largely abated, some questioned whether the country’s failure to count asymptomatic cases would lead to a resurgence of infections. China, where the virus was first detected in December, has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of COVID-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease.