The city had the highest rate of rise in the level of PM 2.5, an ultra-fine toxic pollutant, among the metros between 2014 and 2016, according to a World Health Organisation report. The level is almost twice that of the national permissible limit and eight times the WHO prescribed limit. The report, published a few days ago, found the annual PM 2.5 level in Calcutta was 74 microgram in a cubic metre of air. That’s a rise of about 21 per cent compared to the previous WHO report published in 2016. The national permissible limit is 40 microgram, while that of WHO is 10 microgram. The global air pollution database of WHO covers 4,300 cities from 108 countries, including more than 130 cities from across India. The organisation analyses PM 10 (fine particulate) and PM 2.5 (ultra-fine particulate) pollutants. Between the two, PM 2.5 is considered more toxic because it can reach the crevices of lungs and trigger a host of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.
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