Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

India's capital New Delhi was the worst-affected in terms of premature deaths caused by air pollution in 2020, according to a report by Greenpeace Southeast Asia


Air pollution caused 160,000 deaths in big cities last year: NGO

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb 18 – Serious pollution caused around 160,000 premature deaths in the world’s five most populous cities last year, even as air quality improved in some places due to coronavirus lockdowns, an environmental group said Thursday.

The worst-affected was New Delhi, the most polluted capital on Earth, where around 54,000 deaths are estimated to have occurred due to hazardous PM2.5 airborne particles, according to a report from Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

In Tokyo, the figure was 40,000 with the rest spread across Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Mexico City, according to the report, which looked at the impact of microscopic PM2.5 matter produced by burning fossil fuels.

“When governments choose coal, oil and gas over clean energy, it’s our health that pays the price,” said Avinash Chanchal, climate campaigner at Greenpeace India.

PM2.5 particles are considered the most harmful for health. They damage the heart and lungs, and increase the chances of severe asthma attacks.

Some studies have linked PM2.5 exposure to a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

Lockdowns imposed around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic temporarily cleared the skies above big cities © AFP/File / Ernesto BENAVIDES

The report used an online tool that estimates the impacts of PM 2.5 by taking air quality data from monitoring site IQAir and combining it with scientific risk models, as well as population and health data.

The tool is a collaboration between Greenpeace, IQAir, and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Despite the high numbers of deaths, coronavirus lockdowns imposed across the world — that took traffic off the streets and shut down polluting industries — did temporarily clear the skies above big cities.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Delhi, for instance, underwent a dramatic transformation for a period last year when curbs were imposed, with residents revelling in azure skies and clean air.

Scientists say that massive drops in some pollutants due to lockdowns are bound to have prevented deaths.

Nevertheless, Greenpeace urged governments to put investment in renewable energy at the heart of plans to recover from the pandemic-triggered economic downturn.

“To really clean up our air, governments must stop building new coal plants, retire existing coal plants, and invest in clean energy generation, such as wind and solar,” said the group’s air pollution scientist Aidan Farrow.


More on Capital News


Sloviansk (Ukraine) (AFP), Jul 1 – President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of...


Paris (AFP), Jul 4 – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday reshuffled his government looking to reset a second term off to a rocky...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4-Wiper Democratic Movement Party had already submitted the name of Ali Mbogo as the alternative names for the Mombasa gubernatorial post...


Lugano (Switzerland) (AFP), Jul 4 – Ukraine told an international conference Monday that it will cost an estimated $750 billion to rebuild the war-shattered...


Canazei (Italy) (AFP), Jul 4 – Italy’s prime minister on Monday linked the collapse of the country’s biggest Alpine glacier to climate change, as...


NAIROBI, Kenya July 4- The Presidential Debate will be held on July 26 ahead of the August 9 election. Prior to this, the Deputy...


NAIROBI, Kenya July 4- Candidates cleared for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat will engage in a debate on July 11. The debate is organised jointly...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – Nominated Member of Parliament David Sankok has announced his retirement from active politics. The first-time lawmaker revealed on Monday...