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New Delhi tops list of cities with dirtiest air

India's capital, New Delhi, has the worst air quality of any city in the world, according to figures published by the World Health Organisation.

The WHO measured the average levels of harmful particles known as PM2.5s to try to gauge which urban areas had the most dangerous pollution levels.

Smog obscures the view of the India Gate monument in New Delhi. Credit: Associated Press

Indian cities occupied the top four places on the global list, and 13 out of the top 20 dirtiest cities.

There were three Pakistani cities in the top 20, along with the Qatari capital, Doha and cities in Iran, Turkey and Bangladesh.

Pollution report 'shows need for more cycling'

The UK's governing body for cycling has said high levels of air pollution in some British cities are further evidence of the need to expand cycling.

It follows a study from the World Health Organisation that found nine British cities and towns had unsafe levels of air pollution.

British Cycling is calling for more investment in cycling infrastructure. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Martin Key, campaigns manager for British Cycling, said: "With almost daily news stories about worrying levels of air pollution, it is clearer than ever that more cycling is the answer to many of the problems we face in Britain today."

"If local and national government put sustained and targeted investment into improving our roads and making them fit for cycling, we will without doubt create healthier, happier communities and more pleasant places to live," he added.

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WHO warns worldwide air pollution 'getting worse'

The World Health Organisation has warned that air pollution is "getting worse".

Only 12% of residents in cities that reported on air pollution were living in areas that comply with the WHO's guidelines.

The WHO estimates that in 2012 air pollution was responsible for the deaths of 3.7 million people around the world.

Beijing is among the world's most polluted cities. Credit: Associated Press

Although several British cities have been named as breaching safe air quality levels, cities in countries such as India, China and Pakistan have much higher levels of pollution.

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO's assistant director-general for family, children and women's health, said many cities were now "so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible".

WHO names UK towns with unsafe air pollution levels

London, Birmingham and Leeds are among nine British towns and cities which have come under fire for breaching safe levels of air pollution

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also named Chesterfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Thurrock as having problems with levels of dangerous particles called PM10s.

However some areas, including Manchester, Bournemouth and Northampton, did not provide data for levels of PM10s.

This picture taken in April shows smog in the skies above London. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

People living in polluted areas are at greater risk of respiratory disease and other health problems.

Public Health England has said that air pollution was responsible for 25,000 deaths in England in 2010.

South east and Merseyside among high pollution areas

The south east, east Midlands,Yorkshire and Humberside, north west and Merseyside and the north east are still suffering from "high" air pollution levels, Defra has warned.

Red and pink represent areas experiencing 'high' pollution levels.
Red and pink represent areas experiencing 'high' pollution levels. Credit: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A fresh air mass arriving later today is expected to push the pollution eastwards over the North Sea.

Read: High levels of pollution expected to clear

Find out if your area is still affected at the Defra website here

London

London Ambulance saw 34% rise in breathing problems

The number of people experiencing breathing problems increased by 34 per cent on Thursday, London Ambulance Service has said.

The capital experienced "very high" pollution levels yesterday but air quality is expected to improve today.

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We saw a 34% increase in patients with breathing problems yesterday compared to an average Thu

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People with asthma may also find that they need to use their inhaler more frequently, have it with you at all times

Read: Boris: 'I cycled this morning and it seemed fine to me'

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Central London still smothered by smog this morning

Daybreak's Chief Correspondent Richard Gaisford tweeted from London's Parliament Hill:

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Central London still smothered by #Smog. Should clear later as wind brings breath of fresh air. More @daybreak http://t.co/0RKAnLPgdd

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Last day of #smog, environmental groups calling for action on pollution @daybreak. Pic: Torch shows the problem. http://t.co/I7RyB9RAnW

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'29,000 people a year die prematurely' from emissions

Environmental campaigners have urged politicians not to ignore the cloud of smog that has smothered parts of the UK over the last few days, saying they are "playing with people's lives".

Friends of the Earth's Jane Thomas told Daybreak, "29,000 people a year die prematurely in London alone" from pollution created by emissions.

Read: High levels of pollution expected to clear

High levels of air pollution expected to clear later

Air pollution levels remain high across parts of England and Wales but are expected to reduce later today.

The air pollution is expected to ease today.
The current air pollution is expected to ease today. Credit: DEFRA

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reports that more than 20 areas from northern England down to the South East are still gripped by high levels of pollution this morning.

But a fresh air mass arriving later is expected to push the pollution eastwards over the North Sea, weather forecasters have said.

Read more: Advice for asthma sufferers as high pollution levels hit parts of the UK

The air pollution forecast is much lower.
The air pollution forecast is much lower. Credit: DEFRA
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