Air

Not just Delhi, severe air pollution has taken several other cities hostage

Not a single city in northern India meets international air quality standards

 
By Subhojit Goswami
Last Updated: Wednesday 08 November 2017
There is a sharp decline in air quality in most cities of north India Credit: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
There is a sharp decline in air quality in most cities of north India Credit: Vikas Choudhary / CSE There is a sharp decline in air quality in most cities of north India Credit: Vikas Choudhary / CSE

The streets of Delhi where citizens, in their air pollution masks, make their way through heavy smog, remind us of the gas chambers at Auschwitz concentration camps in Nazi Germany.  Delhiites look clueless and powerless to deal with this public health emergency. While the national capital is waking up to smog-ridden toxic days, other cities in the country are no stranger to this experience.

According to the data released by the Central Pollution Control Board, at least six other cities have seen air quality reaching way beyond the ‘severe’ category. As of 4pm on Tuesday, Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was 448. Only two cities in Haryana—Faridabad and Bhiwai—registered an AQI below Delhi.

Air quality in three major cities in Uttar Pradesh was worse:  Noida’s AQI was 468, Ghaziabad registered AQI of 475 and Moradabad’s AQI touched 500. Surprisingly, Howrah, a costal district of West Bengal, also witnessed AQI of 451.

Cities with Severe AQI

AQI

Cities with satisfactory AQI

AQI

Faridabad

409

Vishakhapatnam

55

Bhiwai

439

Chennai

58

Delhi

448

Thiruvananthapuram

60

Howrah

451

Bengaluru

62

Noida

468

Vijayawada

76

Ghaziabad

475

Tirupati

77

Moradabad

500

Hyderabad

83

A recent report by Greenpeace claimed that not a single city in northern India meets international air quality standards, with air pollution killing more than 1 million Indians each year and causing a 3 per cent loss in the country’s GDP.

INFOGRAPHIC: While Delhi chokes, other cities also get a whiff of toxic air

A study by non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) attributed poor air quality in smaller towns to lack of transport infrastructure and growing number of vehicles.  It also factored in meteorological parameters like lack of wind speed need for dispersion of pollutants, low temperature and high humidity.

For example, Kanpur, which recorded an AQI of 361 on Tuesday, has seen sudden increase in number of vehicles, growing use of diesel generators and high level of industrial activity. Besides Kanpur, other cities in Uttar Pradesh, especially Agra (355) and Lucknow (365), have recorded ‘very poor’ category of air quality on Tuesday.

READ: Smaller cities more polluted than Delhi  

While there is a sharp decline in air quality in most cities of north India, the southern India, on the other hand, is enjoying good air quality. Andhra Pradesh had the maximum number cities with satisfactory air quality on Tuesday:  Vishakhapatnam (55), Vijayawada (76) and Tirupati (77). Most of the capital cities in southern India—Chennai (58), Thiruvananthapuram (60) and Bengaluru (62)—recorded satisfactory air quality. The collective AQI of these capital cities is less than half that of the Delhi’s 448.

The reason behind the southern cities enjoying a much better air quality is the northeast monsoon showers due to which the pollutants have settled down. It is because of this monsoon that the moisture from the south is making its way to the north and trapping pollutants.

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  • Very bad

    Posted by: Ayush | one year ago | Reply