The Fruits of Civilization (68-0-1) India

 India

Air pollution is so bad in India that it has cut crop yields by almost half: the plants there can’t stand to breathe the air.

The Indian city with the chokiest air is the capital, New Delhi; but several other cities are similarly afflicted with toxic air.

To get ready for the next planting, Indian farmers burn the leftover straw in their grain fields. The grain-growing region of India is Punjab, just north of the capital city. The extensive crop burning accounts for 25% of the air pollution in New Delhi during the winter.

The government promotes a seeder that obviates the need to burn the fields, but farmers cannot afford it. The burning of crops has been illegal for many years, but, like many laws in India, it is widely ignored.

Indian officials don’t have a clue how bad their air is because they don’t bother to accurately measure it. Anyway, government officials fiercely deny the foulness of their air.

Our levels are comparable with those of other cities. ~ Indian government air quality specialist Gufran Beig

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Cities in neighboring south Asia countries also have terrible air. The urban air in Pakistan, including Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is horrendous. Narayanganj, one of the oldest cities in Bangladesh, sports a nasty smog. Breathing in the Iranian city of Khormabad, or Iğdır, on the eastern edge of Turkey, is also ill-advised.

Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. ~ Spanish physician Maria Neira

Over half of the US population lives amid dangerous air pollution. 6 of the 10 worst US cities are in California, with Bakersfield topping the list.

Air quality in urban Britain is poor, London particularly, where over 8% of deaths are attributable to air pollution. 60,000 people die in the UK from air pollution annually.

Machines are the largest source of man-made malodorous air, but not solely so. Lifestyle choices themselves pollute the atmosphere: raising livestock produces methane and other greenhouse gases which are decidedly unhealthy.