Beijing: Though a WHO report has named India’s capital New Delhi as the most polluted city in Asia, Beijing should not rejoice at being second, a leading Chinese daily said.

Even if Delhi holds the most polluted city tag, it would not make Beijing a fraction more attractive to international talent, or prevent the massive slide in tourism that has hit the city over the last two years after its grim grey skies made headlines worldwide, an article in the Global Times published Thursday said.

“But it’s too soon for Beijingers to start celebrating ‘We’re No.2!’. For starters, the figures that put Beijing second seem a tad unreliable,” the article said.

“Go by the readings of independent monitors, and Beijing easily equals Delhi, with Clean Air Asia putting the daily (air quality index) average at 121,” it said.

Even if the figures were accurate, these did not reduce the scale of Beijing’s problem, said the article, headlined ‘New Delhi and Beijing share smog woes’.

It said Delhi and Beijing shared the same basic problem — both face the conflict between the desire of the men at the top.

And both the cities are also struggling with the dilemmas of urbanisation as the population swells far beyond the limits of sustainable cities.

It said neither city can cope with its pollution as an individual unit.

It needs national efforts to impose tighter limits on industry, to force officials to re-prioritise, to make second-tier cities more attractive and drain off the urban boil of the metropolises.

If authorities of the two countries fail to plan better and stop corrupt practices of allowing environmentally unsustainable industries, the problem will be worsened, it said.

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