A new dashboard launched on Wednesday provides a comprehensive picture of India’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which come under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP).
The Centre had launched the National Clean Air Programme on January 10, 2019 to address air pollution in 122 cities. These cities are referred to as non-attainment cities as they did not meet the national ambient air quality standards for the period of 2011-15 under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme.
The dashboard launched Wednesday, set up by climate and energy news site CarbonCopy in association with Mumbai-based start-up Respirer Living Sciences, presents a comparative picture of particulate matter (PM) for all 122 cities since 2016. It establishes a three-year rolling average trend for PM2.5 and PM10 levels across the cities from 2016 to 2018.
Among the key highlights it has presented are:
* A total of 59 of 122 cities had PM2.5 data available. Noida ranked the worst with 119, followed by Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Muzzaffarpur, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Howrah and Kolkata.
* Delhi ranked as the most polluted state on an average of 3 years’ PM10 monitoring data, followed by Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
* Of the 23 states listed in the NCAP with non-attainment cities, only three states or Union Territories—Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab—accounted for above average readings for all three years of PM10 monitoring
* West Bengal and Assam were on the margin
Respirer Living Sciences CEO Ronak Sutaria said at a webinar Wednesday, “When analysing the data, it is crucial to see the number of monitors available in each city, the increase or decrease of monitoring capacity year over year and the number of readings available per monitor every year. The dashboard gives a clear snapshot of which cities had how many monitors, what was their uptime and what is the confidence in that data.”
Will help analyse effects on health
Experts believe that there is a need to study health data in the country by considering air pollution as an important risk factor. Dr Arun Sharma, Director-Professor of Community Medicine at University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, said: “A majority of health models which establish the relationship between air pollution and public health are based on western models due to a lack of health data available in Indian context. When this data can be made available, it will give a true sense of the burden of respiratory diseases in the country by geographical distribution.”
Aarti Khosla, Director, Climate Trends and Publisher for CarbonCopy, added, “At a time when the Central government aspires to bring out a new law to address air pollution in the National Capital Region, it is important to evaluate our existing regulations as the first step towards effective crisis management. The NAMP dashboard allows us to look back and plan ahead.”
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