Representational image. (AFP)
Representational image. (AFP)

Eight of 10 most polluted cities this winter were in NCR, UP: CSE study

While Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Greater Noida topped the list of most polluted cities in this region, Noida and Delhi were not far behind. Kanpur and Lucknow occupied sixth and ninth positions on the chart
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:37 AM IST

Eight of 10 most polluted cities in the country this winter were located in the Delhi-NCR and Uttar Pradesh region, an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) shows.

The CSE’s study, the results of which were released after an extensive analysis of realtime data from cities in different regions to throw light on the difference between 2020-21 winter and the previous winter, has identified the Delhi-NCR as the most polluted cluster.

While Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Greater Noida topped the list of most polluted cities in this region, Noida and Delhi were not far behind. Kanpur and Lucknow occupied sixth and ninth positions on the chart, according to the CSE analysis.

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“Winter is a special challenge when inversion, and the cool and calm weather trap and spike daily pollution. While the northern Indo-Gangetic Plains is the most affected, other regions also experience a rise, but with lesser intensity. But this year, even though the average level of PM2.5 (particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) during summer and monsoon months was considerably lower than the previous year, due to the summer lockdown, the winter PM2.5 concentration rose in many cities across regions as compared to 2019,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE’s executive director and the in-charge of research and advocacy.

She further said, “This bouncing back of pollution, post-lockdown, unmasks the high impact of local and regional pollution. This demands quicker regional reforms to curb pollution from vehicles, industry, power plants and waste burning to curb the winter pollution.”

This analysis by CSE took into account data from 99 cities across the country, where data availability for two consecutive winters meets the minimum criteria for 75% of days between October 1 and January 31.

The analysis also showed that in Delhi, the levels of PM 2.5 showed a “stable trend”. Delhi, along with 14 other cities, showed a less than 8% change in pollution levels this winter season as compared to the previous winter.

“This analysis has helped to understand the regional differences in winter pollution. Even though there is considerable regional variation, peak pollution episodes increased and synchronized within the regions during winter. At the same time, uneven rise across monitoring locations and contiguous cities pointed to the impact of local pollution,” says Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager at CSE’s urban lab team, sustainable cities programme.

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