An average day in Delhi would be considered a very bad-air day in Beijing which, unlike Delhi, has a five-year action plan in place to protect its citizens from harmful air, Greenpeace India on Saturday claimed.
The green NGO, which has collated data from various studies to give perspective about Beijing and Delhi in terms of parameters of pollution and mitigation plans, said Delhi's air pollution is worst than that of the Chinese capital and called for stringent targets for industrial emissions and an action plan to protect citizens from air pollution.
"New Delhi is breathing the most polluted air in the world, according to WHO report in 2014. The WHO found that 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India, with New Delhi's air being the world's worst. "While Beijing's air quality has made headlines worldwide, a range of studies, backed by the government's own data, shows that New Delhi's air is often worse than that of Beijing," Greenpeace said.
The examination of pollution figures collected and based on bad and good air quality days from Beijing and Delhi suggests that on an average, Delhi's air is more laden with dangerous PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter than can penetrate deep into the lungs) than Beijing's.
Observing that an average day in Delhi would be considered a very bad-air day in Beijing, Greenpeace India said despite the capital's air pollution, there was hardly any emphasis on it in the Union Budget, and funding given to pollution control board was not enough to address a problem of this scale.
The NGO said Delhi also does not have Health Advisories or Action Plans in place which is contrary to Beijing which has a four-level alarm system to tackle heavy pollution episodes.
"There should be stringent targets for industrial emissions. We need an action plan similar to that of Beijing. It should include an emergency alert system that issues health advisories to public on heavy pollution days along with instructions for industries to cut down emissions.
"Delhi had several bad-air days in 2014 for which no health advisories were issued. We have no emission standards for coal-fired power plants in India, a sector responsible for emitting 7,500 tons of PM 2.5 into the city," Greenpeace campaigner Aishwarya Madineni said.