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This showed that "climate change is making the effects of air pollution worse by changing atmospheric conditions and amplifying forest fires", Greenpeace said in a statement.

"In addition to human lives lost, there's an estimated global cost of 225 billion dollars in lost labor, and trillions in medical costs", said Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia.

In two months of a year ago, the AQI in Gurugram - as measured by levels of fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 - was above 200. As a whole, India stands third among the most polluted countries in the world, after Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The report published by Greenpeace, India has highlighted that the alarming increase in air pollution may cause seven million premature deaths globally next year due to unequal distribution of PM 2.5 particles contributing to air pollution.

Lavakare said the NCAP, which aims to cut concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 (larger particulate matter) throughout the country between 20-30 percent by 2024, was a "reactive" attempt to clean up India's air and called on New Delhi to take a more "proactive approach". India has a lot of cities with high levels of pollution.

In Southeast Asia, Hanoi was the second most polluted city behind Jakarta, Indonesia, which had a PM2.5 level of 45.3.

China struggled for years to enforce environment rules and crack down on polluting industries, but it has benefited in recent years from vastly improved legislation and greater political will to combat poor air quality.

The report also stated that the pollution level in South Asia is really serious. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) had reported that 13 of the 20 most polluted cities were from India.

The 2018 World Air Quality Report is based on data accumulated from over 3,000 cities around the globe.

In urban areas, there is a strong correlation between transportation and industry and air pollution, it said.

Other Indian cities that made their debut in the top five are Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Bhiwandi. This has also created demand for air quality monitoring in cities or regions where no public data is available.