Beyond Delhi-NCR, a look at cities reeling under severe air pollution

While Delhi’s adverse air quality has been rightly ringing screeching alarms all over the country and the world, it would be incorrect to believe that the extreme lung-hazard is a concern of the capital region alone.

Written by Nandini Rathi | New Delhi | Published: November 8, 2017 3:25 pm

air pollution, delhi ncr, CPCB, air quality index

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Wednesday summoned officials from the Pollution departments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi governments to discuss air pollution in Delhi NCR. While Delhi’s adverse air quality has been rightly ringing screeching alarms all over the country and the world, it would be incorrect to believe that the extreme lung-hazard is a concern of the capital region alone.

Without a doubt, the outrightly affected along with Delhi are its surroundings — Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. Going slightly further, Ghaziabad (475), Moradabad (500) and Bhiwadi (439) are among the hardest hit due to heightened, hazardous concentrations of PM-10 and PM-2.5, as per the Air Quality Index report released by the CPCB yesterday at 4 PM. All, as indicated by their index values, saw levels of pollution greater than 400 micrograms per cubic centimeter and fell in the “severe” category. Bhiwadi was also recently identified by the CPCB as the most polluted city of Rajasthan post-Diwali.

By comparison, CPCB deems Air Quality Index (AQI) level 100 is satisfactory. Delhi which usually remains in the range of 300-400, last year made international headlines for crossing the threshold of 500 after Diwali.

Also flagged in the report were Howrah (451), Lucknow (365), Kanpur (361) and Agra (355) — all generally notorious for pollution. In Howrah, Ozone was attributed as the chief pollutant this time, unlike other areas where particulate matter dominated. Data on Kolkata was unavailable in this report, yet the twin cities have variously featured in the recently years for levels exceeding PM and NO2 standards by multiples.

While city-wise pollution rankings keep fluctuating, the places regularly red-flagged almost every time have a clear reason to worry.

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