The industrial city of Kanpur was the worst polluted, followed by Faridabad and Varanasi, among the 544 cities worldwide where particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) levels exceeded the prescribed ten micrograms per cubic metre. The PM2.5 includes pollutants like sulphate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the most significant risk to human health.
The annual mean PM2.5 values in these 14 cities ranged from 98 to 173 micrograms per cubic metre, while PM10 levels ranged from 180 to 319 micrograms per cubic metre.
Image Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national
The WHO guidelines prescribe an annual mean PM10 no higher than 20 micrograms per cubic metre. Regarding PM10 levels, 13 cities in India figured among the 20 most-polluted cities of the world in 2016.
In an associated report, the WHO said the Southeast Asian region bears the highest burden of about 2.4 million of the estimated 7 million premature deaths worldwide linked to air pollution.
The World Health Organisation called upon member-countries in its Southeast Asia Region to aggressively address the double burden of household and ambient (outdoor) air pollution. They stated that the region, which comprises India, accounts for 34 pc or 2.4 million of the seven million premature deaths caused by household and ambient air pollution together globally every year.
Of the 3.8 million deaths caused by household air pollution globally, the region accounts for 1.5 million or 40 percent deaths, and of the 4.2 million global deaths due to ambient air pollution, 1.3 million or 30 percent are reported from the region, it said.
The WHO said air pollution accounts for an estimated 24 percent of adult deaths from heart disease, 25 percent from stroke, 43 percent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29 percent from lung cancer.
Do this to purify the air:
- Commercial air purifiers might come to rescue, but they would clean the surrounding air only.
- To cleanse a city altogether, we need to plant trees, create gardens and mini jungles at home.
- You can start by purchasing air purifying plants online viz. Chrysanthemum, Spider Plant, Dracaena, Ficus, Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Snake Plant, Bamboo Palm, and Aloe Vera.
- Plants purify the air by removing formaldehyde and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
- Plants produce fresh air.
- Research has proved that plants have reduced the incidence of several medical issues by improving the quality of air.
Read about 3 Green and Budget Friendly Air Purifiers.
This article gives you a glimpse of plants you can grow to combat air pollution. For effective large-scale measures watch this space.