Pollution in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Patna, Agra and Kanpur exceed the toxic levels in Beijing
GN Bureau | May 12, 2016
The South Asian region has shown an increase of five percent in air pollution level in more than two-thirds of its cities.
Delhi has some reason to cheer after the release of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report on the urban air quality as its position in the pollution database has moved down from being the world’s most polluted city to 11th position.
After being ranked the worst city in 2014 for having high levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 i.e.153 micro grams per cubic metre, the level in Delhi has plummeted to 122 in the recent report.
But, what is worse is that cities like Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur are now world’s 10 most polluted cities. Gwalior holds second position followed by Allahabad on the third place whereas Patna is on sixth and Raipur on seventh position.
The official data based on the years of measurements from 2010 to 2015 confirms that exposure to toxic particulate pollution PM 2.5 and PM 10 is alarmingly high in most Indian cities.
Even the National Air Quality Index (NAQI) data of 2015 shows that pollution level in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Patna, Agra and Kanpur, exceed the toxic levels in Beijing and other Chinese cities.
Delhi’s level over the eight months (April to November as per NAQI) of data were 12 times as high as the WHO annual guideline and three times as high as the national standard. Lucknow, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur and Varanasi had average levels at least 10 times as high as the WHO annual guideline.
While Delhi garners the most attention, five other cities registered even higher levels in November, and all northern cities had average levels that would trigger a “red alert” in Beijing if they persisted for only four days. It included cities like Patna, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Muzaffarpur and Faridabad.
“Pollution does not recognise political boundaries, with polluted air travelling across long distances,” says Sunil Dahiya, campaigner, Greenpeace India. “Air pollution is a national crisis, and demands a concerted national action plan in response.”
The continuing rise of fossil fuel consumption in India, along with several other factors, has contributed to an increase in air pollution levels. The significant increase in secondary particles such as SO2 and NOx in particular contributing to the overall pollution, Dahiya says, can be attributed to emissions from thermal power plants.
“We are glad to see that the government has taken some steps to reduce air pollution: such as the new emission standards prescribed for thermal power plants and introducing Bharat VI standards for vehicles. The critical thing now is to ensure that these are implemented as soon as possible to reduce the public health crisis due to air pollution coming from burning fossil fuels,” he says.
To read full report click here
Struggling with rationing and prioritising available supplies amid the acute Covid-19 vaccine shortage, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has floated a global tender for supply of 1 crore doses, even as it has announced a walk-in vaccination campaign next week for select categories of citizens.
Expressing regret that despite being the largest producer of vaccines in the world things have fallen apart in India, Ashok Seth, a Padma Bhushan awardee and chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, has said that the focus needs to be on percentage and not the number of population vaccinated.
In Maharashtra, the epicentre of India’s devastating second wave, several NGOs and civil society organisations have been at work to combat the pandemic – by spreading awareness about precautions, by helping the slum-dwellers book appointment for vaccine, by providing meals to the marginalised a
The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed the landmark of 17 crore on Monday as the Phase 3 of the nationwide vaccination drive expands further. India is the fastest country to administer 17 crore Covid vaccine doses – China took 119 days and USA 115 days
India is battling the second wave of Covid-19 and infections are spreading into the interiors of the country, says Dr Anurag Bhadouria, National Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party. It is precipitated by the elections in five states, the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and also panchayat elections in many states, he says
The CoWIN system, the overarching digital platform for citizens seeking appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine, is introducing a new four-digit security code” in the application from Saturday to minimise a peculiar error and subsequent inconvenience to citizens. “It has been notic