India has kept its growth story intact, but the country also has emerged the worst polluter in the world, beating even neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China.
The country ranked at the bottom in a list of 132 countries in terms of air pollution (effects on human health) in WEF's annual study `Environmental Pollution Index', released during the just-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos.
Of all the countries surveyed in the annual Environmental Performance Index, which measures the effects of polluted air on human health, India ranked the lowest.
The study, conducted by environmental research centres at Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of scientists from elsewhere, used satellite data to measure air pollution concentrations.
The level of fine particulate matter – the so-called PM 2.5 – of the 2.5 micron size in India (mostly in its towns and cities), is nearly five times the limit where they become unsafe for human beings.
Particulate matter is one of the main causes of acute lower respiratory infections and even cancer.