The South Asian countries have overtaken China to become home to the most polluted cities in the world. Fifteen of the world’s 20 worst polluted cities in 2018 were in India, according to the recent statistics from Greenpeace and Air Visual.
The Pakistani city of Lahore and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, also made the top 20, making South Asia a particularly toxic region. 99% of cities in South Asia failed to meet WHO PM 2.5 targets. PM 2.5 is a fine particulate matter less than one-millionth of a meter in width and able to penetrate blood vessels with ease, tiny airborne particles that are linked to a variety of health issues.
According to thirdpole.net, In India experts argue that current levels of air pollution represent a requiring a “full emergency mode” response from local and national authorities. A study estimated that 1.2 million people have died because of India’s dirty air and life expectancy would have been higher by 1.7 years if its people breathed clean air.
The responsible authorities have failed to take adequate action and activists have rejected New Delhi’s new National Clean Air Program as insufficient.
The majority of countries in South Asia lack government support in real-time public stations. Measurements from these countries are from US state department monitors and citizen-led monitoring networks, the greatest extensive of which is in Pakistan.
On World Environment Day, the Thirdpole.net, who spoke to people across South Asia about living with the smog and what action should be taken on a personal and government level.