India Falls at the Bottom on Environmental Performance: World Report

A pollution scene in India's capital New Delhi which is the most polluted national capital in the world. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service
A pollution scene in India’s capital New Delhi which is the most polluted national capital in the world. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service

In the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), the lowest scores go to India (18.9) in a list of 180 countries. Even smaller countries such as Myanmar (19.4), Viet Nam (20.1), Bangladesh (23.1), and Pakistan (24.6) have performed better than India to protect the environment. 

The 2022 EPI provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality. 

According to EPI analysis done by researchers of Yale and Columbia University, most low-scoring countries are those that have prioritized economic growth over sustainability, or those that are struggling with civil unrest and other crises. 

India, with increasingly dangerous air quality and rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions, falls to the bottom of rankings for the first time. China places 161st, earning an overall EPI score of 28.4. 

China and India are projected to be the largest and second-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in 2050, despite recently promising to curb emissions growth rates. Other low-scorers suffer from poverty or ineffective governance.

According to EPI data, over 1.6 million deaths result from air pollution in India annually, accounting for about 18% of total deaths and causing $30 billion in economic losses. 

While indoor air is cleaner in many parts of the world, some residents of India still suffer from remarkably poor household air quality, the EPI report reveals.

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Rakesh Raman