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The government of Delhi has denied the reports that their smog is worse than Beijing, disputing the numbers of of the CSE, which shot back saying that the government’s pollution monitoring method is flawed. Notably, even though the . Embassy in Beijing records air quality and releases the data to the public, the . Embassy in New Delhi records air quality but does not release the data . Even though the problem in Delhi is arguably worse and public awareness is much lower, the readings from the . Embassy in New Delhi are only available to Embassy staff, and administrators of the American Embassy School. The . State Department said that the reason for this discrepancy is that the Indian government provides readings in English; whereas in China the government readings are provided in Chinese. The unspoken reason is that the . government wants to embarrass the Chinese government because it is a geopolitical rival; while they don’t want to embarrass the democratic and allied government of India.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is one of the world's biggest killers: it causes around three million people to die prematurely each year. Many of these deaths happen in developing countries (over half a million in India alone), but wealthier industrial nations suffer too: in the United States, for example, around 41,000 people a year are estimated to die early because of air pollution. Imagine how much media coverage there would be if several million people (that's roughly the population of Houston, Texas or the West Midlands conurbation in England) were killed in a terrorist incident or an earthquake . Because air pollution kills quietly and relentlessly, and its finger is hard to detect on the trigger, people barely seem to notice—or care.