Delhi Pollution Alert. European Diplomats Asked to Install Air Purifiers

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A WHO study released last year found Delhi to be the most polluted city in the world


New Delhi: 

Concerned over heavy pollution in Delhi, the European Union has directed its diplomats to install air purifiers in their offices and homes in the capital.

"We don't need to monitor the pollution level, the US is doing that...But we need to respond for the safety of our staff, the EU delegation living in the city here," Joao Cravinho, the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to India said on the sidelines of an environment meet on Wednesday.

"We haven't bought them (purifiers) yet, but we have received instructions from our headquarters (in Brussels) to do so...And, our colleagues are doing market research study to find the best product," Mr Cravinho added.

The diplomat said many countries are moving in that direction. "But, each country is doing it from their own side, I do not decide that," he said, also expressing concern over a recent report that says Delhi is "more polluted than Beijing."

Reports have suggested that some countries are limiting Delhi postings over health concerns.

The US Embassy sources said there were "no plans to reduce the tours of duty of its diplomats here."

The German Embassy also denied it, but said it was investing in air purifiers. The embassy recently had an expert assess its offices and suggest measures.

"There is no rule curtailing diplomatic postings to Delhi. We are not aware of any such meeting that considered this. The German embassy is concerned about the levels of air pollution in Delhi and late last year, the Foreign Office bought air purifiers for the embassy which we are in the process of upgrading," the embassy said in a statement.

A WHO study released last year found Delhi to be the most polluted city in the world. Another study this week, said excess pollution is reducing the life expectancy of 660 million Indians by 3.2 years, on average.

Last week, the US had announced plans to expand air quality monitoring to some of its missions in countries including India.

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