"These figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that as a country we still have a long way to go in the fight against air pollution, with several United Kingdom cities exceeding the air quality standards needed to protect health." he said.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that in 2016 and 2017 the average annual pollution levels (PM10 and PM2.5) in Delhi, and its satellite towns remained at least three to four times above the annual permissible limits. The second largest city of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Kanpur, attained global infamy after the World Health Organisation (WHO) placed it on top of a list of 4,300 world cities monitored for their air pollution levels in the year 2016. The WHO also said that the countries are also taking the required measures to curb the negative effects.
The air quality database for 2016 was released by World Health Organization on Wednesday and showed that the north Indian industrial city of Kanpur had the highest-measured levels of PM2.5, or small particulate matter.
Delhi and Varanasi are among the 14 Indian cities that figured in a WHO list of 20 most-polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels.
Similarly, for PM 10 the figures were 289 micrograms per cubic metre in the year 2016 and 268 micrograms per cubic metre in the year 2017. "If we don't take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
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Three other cities of the state picked by World Health Organization for pollution measurement were Kota, Alwar Udaipur and Alwar which stand at number 75, 76 and 83 in the list.
During these months, in addition to local emissions, there was a substantial contribution from regional sources, including smoke due to stubble burning in neighbouring states and dust from the Gulf countries, it said.
As per the ambient air quality report released by the in 2017, Lucknow had "good quality air" just for 17 days.
"To ensure clean air for all and save lives, governments need to urgently set strong deadlines and action plans for meeting air quality targets, and that includes quickly shifting to clean energy and clean transport".
The newspaper reports also highlight observations by various experts suggesting that action similar to that in Delhi and NCR be also taken in other polluted cities.
It also referred to the launch of a mobile app - SAMEER - for grievance redressal.