DELHI -- India's price for rapid economic expansion is having the most toxic air in the world, according to a study by Columbia and Yale Universities, which has ranked 132 nations on an Environmental Performance Index.
Countries were ranked on 22 indicators spanning ten policy categories including environmental health, water (effects on human health), air pollution (effects on human health), air pollution (ecosystem effects), water Resources (ecosystem effects), biodiversity and habitat, forests, fisheries, agriculture and climate change.
In the category of air (effects on human health) India ranks the last at 132.
India’s neighbor Pakistan ranks 129, while Nepal and Bangladesh rank 130 and 131 respectively. China, which has highest CO2 emissions in the world, is ranked 128. United States, the largest per capita emitter of CO2, is ranked at 1 in the air (effects on human health) indicator.
In the overall ranking, India came in 125 followed by Kuwait, Yemen, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. The U.S. gets the 49th place and China comes in at 116th.
The study noted that in 2010 global carbon emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production increased by 5.9%. "This significant increase marks the highest total annual growth of CO2 emissions to date and in combination with emissions from land-use change reached a record high of 10.0 +/- 0.9 petagrams (Pg) of carbon in 2010," the report said.
"This growth is the result of emerging economies, such as China and India, and improvements in dominating countries following the 2008 financial crisis," it added.
The report warns that Russia, which is at 106, could get worse. “Russia, at the very bottom of the Trend EPI ranking, has suffered a severe breakdown in environmental health as well as performance declines related to over-fishing and forest loss. It shows declines in every category except for slight improvements in sulphur dioxide emissions, though levels are still far below target,” it said.
The best performers are Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg and Costa Rica.