China Environmental Ministry Urges 20 Cities to Boost Air Pollution Coordination

Both India and China faced almost 1.1 million early deaths due to it in 2015.

"The analysis found that China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths", the first annual State of Global Air Report by the institute said. In equilibrium with China, India's unsafe air particles caused roughly 1.1 million premature deaths annually, the report by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation found. The findings show that India has some of the world's most polluted cities and in many north Indian towns, it's best not to exercise for more than an hour.

But it's now roughly tied with India and the two countries appear headed in opposite directions, according to a new report on global air quality released Tuesday.

China has attached great importance to environmental protection in recent years as environmental degradation threatens people's health and undermines the country's long-term growth.

But it has risen sharply in India, said the report, issued jointly yesterday by the Health Effects Institute in Boston and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

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Household solid fuel use, coal-fired power plants, transportation, and open burning of agricultural and other wastes are among the most important contributors to outdoor air pollution.

Beijing was one of 24 cities to issue a smog "red alert" at the end of previous year, allowing authorities to impose emergency restrictions on traffic and industrial output in order to reduce emissions.

New Delhi is no less, with dust and diesel-driven cars adding to the pollution woe.

Doha, Qatar, which hosted the 2016 UCI Road World Championships, is also among the worst polluted, with the "breakeven point" being 105 minutes of cycling before suffering ill effects from air pollution.

The institute, which has also launched an online database showing the global impact of pollution on health, said 92 per cent of the world's population lives in areas with unhealthy air. "The U.S. Clean Air Act and actions by the European Commission have made substantial progress in reducing people exposed to PM since 1990", the report read.