20% reduction in PM 2.5 levels due to ‘slowing marketplace’: Report
Every city in India for which PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) is available, recorded a reduction in concentrations except in Nagpur according a new report titled “2019 World Air Quality Report” that was released on Tuesday morning. The average PM 2.5 concentrations in India reduced by 20% in 2019 as compared to 2018, the report said.
This improvement however may not be a result of air pollution control policies like the National Clean Air Programme launched last year but “indicative of a slowing marketplace,” the report by IQAir said.
Delhi is the most polluted city among 84 cities assessed globally for PM 2.5 levels by IQAir. Half of the 50 most polluted cities are in India which haven’t met the World Health Organisation’s annual guideline for PM 2.5 concentration (10 micrograms per cubic metres) as per the report’s assessments. Delhi’s annual PM 2.5 concentration was 98.6 micrograms per cubic metres, 9.8 times the WHO recommendation, followed by Dhaka at 83.3 micrograms per cubic metres and Ulaanbatar in Mongolia at 62 micrograms per cubic metres.
The report uses PM 2.5 data made publicly available during 2019 from government and non-government air quality monitors. Regionally, South Asia, South-east Asia, and the Middle East carry the highest burden of PM 2.5 pollution with only 6 of 355 cities included meeting WHO annual guideline.
‘How are they saying that improvement is because of slowdown? We cannot comment on it unless we know what data they have analysed to arrive at this conclusion. Air pollution control action is being taken in 102 cities under NCAP. We will look into it. We are still analysing our data from 2019’, said a senior Central Pollution Control Board official who declined to be quoted.