11/07/2019, 14.50
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World’s most polluted countries are India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, more than China

India also has the most polluted cities. Living in Beijing in 2014 was almost impossible. Traffic, fossil fuels burning power plants and heavy industries are the main culprits. For expert, agricultural burning should not be underestimated.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Bangladesh is the most polluted country in the world, closely followed by Pakistan and India. The latter however has the unenviable record of having the most polluted cities, this according to the BBC.

In a recent article, the British broadcaster noted that the levels of pollution were drastically reduced in China, which once had the worst air quality.

Currently the situation in India, in particular in its smog-covered capital New Delhi, has been at the centre of attention.

According to the World Air Quality Report on the most polluted cities by IQ AirVisual in collaboration with Greenpeace, 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

The other eight cities are all in Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Beijing, where it was almost impossible to live just a few years ago, is now number 122.

The major factors for poor air quality are traffic, fossil fuels burning power plants and heavy industries.

The difference between China and India, experts say, is that in the latter the practice of burning crop stubbles is widespread as a way to fertilise the soil for the following year. In China, the practice has completely been banned, whilst it is tolerated in India.

In the areas north of the capital burning to clear the fields takes place in autumn. In fact, one should not “underestimate how important agricultural burning is – even though people often think only of cars and heavy industry as the causes,” said assistant professor Thomas Smith of the London School of Economics.

In light of the pollution crisis, India's Supreme Court this month ordered a stop to stubble burning in the states around Delhi. In October of last year, it banned conventional firecrackers for the Hindu festival of Diwali (Deepavali) or festival of lights, allowing only the sale of eco-friendly varieties.

However, rather than reduce air pollution, the ban had a negative impact on, penalising the fireworks industry, which employs thousands of poor people in Tamil Nadu, and encouraging illegal imports from China.

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