According to an analysis report by the Centre’s National Clean Air Programme, the air quality of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh was the worst among 132 cities across the country in the last three years. At the same time, Delhi remained the second most polluted city in the country.
New Delhi: The air quality of other poor air cities (non-attainment cities), including Delhi included in the Centre’s National Clean Air Program (NCAP), showed no improvement or marginal improvement even after three years.
This claim was made in an analysis report released on Monday. According to this, on an average, Ghaziabad was the most polluted city in the country during three years, while Delhi is at number two.
The nationwide NCAP was launched in the year 2019 to reduce the Particulate Matter (PM) levels in 132 non-attainment cities by 20 to 30 per cent by 2024, but during this period the PM level increased in many cities.
This analysis is done by NCAP Tracker. This tracker has been created with a joint effort of news portal ‘Carbon Copy’ and Maharashtra-based startup ‘Respire Living Sciences’.
It has been designed to track progress towards meeting the air quality targets set under the NCAP.
According to the analysis of this tracker, the air quality of Uttar Pradesh city Ghaziabad was the worst among 132 non-maintenance cities across the country. Ghaziabad was found to be the most polluted city with highest levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10.
Delhi remained the second most polluted city in the country in terms of PM 2.5 levels in the air, although Delhi was the fourth most polluted city in terms of PM 10 levels. Despite continuous efforts, the PM level in Delhi’s air could decrease only marginally.
The report said that, ‘Based on the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) data, Delhi’s PM 2.5 level fell from 108 micrograms per cubic meter in 2019 to 102 micrograms per cubic meter in 2021. Its PM10 level has come down from 217 micrograms per cubic meter to 207 micrograms per cubic metre.
It said, “During a period of three years, Delhi’s PM 2.5 level is 2.5 times the CPCB’s safe limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter and 20 times the WHO’s safe limit of five micrograms per cubic meter.”
According to the three-year comparative analysis, Ghaziabad topped the most polluted cities with an annual PM 2.5 level of over 100 except in the year 2020.
However, in the year 2020, Lucknow stood first with an annual PM 2.5 level of 116. Noida, Delhi, Moradabad and Jodhpur saw only a marginal drop in PM 2.5 levels and were among the top 10 polluted non-attainment cities throughout the year.
Varanasi moved from fifth rank in the year 2019 to 37th rank in 2021 with a sharp drop in the level of PM 2.5.
According to the report, Rs 375.44 crore has been allocated to 114 cities under NCAP during the year 2018-19 to 2020-2021 and Rs 290 crore has been allocated to 82 cities for the financial year 2021-2022.
The analysis report states that an allocation of Rs 700 crore has been ensured for 2021-2026 in the program.
According to Hindustan Times, Respirator Living Sciences Chief Executive Officer Ronak Sutaria said, ‘Not much has changed between 2019 and 2021, the list of most polluted cities in the world in 2021 has the same cities as it was in 2019.’
Sutaria said, “Pollution is affecting the entire airshed in these cities and the solution needs to be thought of political and governance boundaries.”
Aarti Khosla, director of Climate Trends, which runs CarbonCopy, said that Delhi has seen good air quality only twice in the last six months, due to heavy rains.
“This alone emphasizes how much impact any policy goal has made,” Khosla said. The new Air Quality Commission for Delhi as a region talks about tackling air pollution, but a lot still needs to be done.
Pollution level increased after lockdown in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha
After an initial drop in PM 2.5 levels during the COVID lockdown in the year 2020 in the eastern states of the country – Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha, the amount of polluting elements again increased in 2021.
The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) gave this information on Monday. “It is now the month of January and the eastern states of India – Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha – are witnessing an increase in air pollution in winters,” said the institute working for the environment.
“The winter smog which remains over North India in early November moves eastwards towards the end of December and early January,” the CSE said. Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha are most affected during this period when the already increased local pollution increases in winter.
An analysis by the institute found that almost all the cities in the region saw a drop in the average annual level of PM2.5 in 2020 when the country was in phases of lockdown.
The study said, ‘The amount of polluting agents increased again in 2021, although in most cases this level was lower than in 2019. The industrial area of Durgapur in West Bengal, which has been declared the most polluted area by the CPCB, had an average of 80 micrograms per cubic meter in 2021. It is followed by Muzaffarpur and Patna where the average PM2.5 in 2021 was recorded at 78 and 73 micrograms per cubic meter respectively.
(with input from news agency language)
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