New Delhi [India], Sep 5 (ANI): Delhi has gone down by six positions to rank 118th on the list of the world's most liveable cities due to increasing cases of petty crimes and deteriorating air quality, an annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of The Economist group, said on Wednesday.
Apart from Delhi, the financial capital of India, Mumbai, has also been placed two positions down since last year to rank at 119th on the list.
Notably, Austria's Vienna has topped the list for the second consecutive year with Melbourne on second. These two cities continue to be separated by 0.7 percentage points, with Vienna scoring 99.1 out of 100 and Melbourne 98.4.
Speaking to ANI environmental activist Vandana Shiva said, "This fact of Delhi and Mumbai turning unlievable has been known for the past many years. Scores of people including children have to leave these cities because they had developed critical asthma. This result of the EIU report was so much prdictable."
"If you destroy the livelihood of people, there is only one other economy left which is the crime economy. The government must wake up now to the livelihood crisis of the Indians," she added.
Shiva, who is a campaigner on environment issues, also stressed that there is dire need to make an assessment of the quality of food, water and air people are consuming residing in Delhi and Mumbai.
"We need to make a very honest assessment - what are the basic things of life. The ecology of the air we breathe, the quality of the food we eat and the water we drink. And our everyday safety. The wealth of the billionaires does not make society rather the wealth of ordinary people makes society.
"In my suggestion, make agriculture viable. People will stop moving to cities and the population level will then become manageable in these areas," she said.
Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist and the founder of Swechha also spoke to ANI on the same and said that in order to combat menace of air pollution, the Centre must look beyond the statistics and treat it as a "public health emergency."
"Delhi in the last three years had not even five days of good air quality. If you see liveability in better terms of life, the national capital has deteriorated over the years- in terms of dust pollution, motor vehicular pollution and polluted river. I am not very surprised by the report. The city has become of what it actually was on every indicator of the quality of life," he said.
"There is a dire need to look beyond the statistics and I urge the government to treat it as a public health emergency. A very strategic short term, medium-term and long term measures need to be taken. For instance- tree plantation, improving public transportation and better waste management. This all is required to make Delhi liveable again," he added.
"Infrastructure also means better public transport and better waste management regime. No new eco-friendly vehicles have been added in New Delhi. And if we talk about waste management system, dumping grounds are catching fire affecting lakhs of people due to toxic smoke," Jha further stated.
Notably, the EIU report also stated that a deterioration in culture and environment is also responsible for New Delhi's downward position. It claims that climate change has also impacted the development of education and infrastructure in the country.
"A deterioration in culture and environment scores is of concern. A slew of cities in emerging markets that are among the most exposed to the effects of climate change has seen their scores downgraded. These include New Delhi in India, which suffers from appalling air quality. A lack of a concerted global effort to tackle climate change risks further downward revisions in these scores, threatening to offset improvements in the other categories, such as education and infrastructure, which remain on a broadly upward trend," the report reads.
EIU also mentioned in its report about the "an escalation in abuses against journalists in recent years" in India, citing a decline in the country's ranking in Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index where India has been placed at the bottom of the chart.
New Delhi has got the overall score of 56.3 while Mumbai has got 56.2. Vienna, which has topped the chart has scored 99.1 while Damascus (Syria) has been placed at the bottom of the chart with only 30.7 points. (ANI)