Jharia most polluted place in India in 2018, Greenpeace report
Lunglei in Mizoram was the least polluted city in India, followed by Meghalaya’s Dowki, according to the report.Updated: Jan 22, 2020 04:26 IST
Jharia, known worldwide for its underground coal fires, continued to be the most polluted city in the country in 2018, while neighbouring, Dhanbad, came in second according to Airpocalypse-IV, an annual report released by Greenpeace India on Tuesday.
The report, based on analysis of particulate matter data across 287 cities, said Delhi was 10th most polluted city in 2018, an improvement by two ranks as compared to 2017. Greenpeace has used Central Pollution Control Board data to rank the most polluted cities in India. The organisation’s reports come out with a lag of a year.
Lunglei in Mizoram was the least polluted city in India, followed by Meghalaya’s Dowki, according to the report. Six of the top-10 polluted cities are in Uttar Pradesh: Noida, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad.
Jharia and Dhanbad are twin cities in the coal-belt of Jharkhand. PM-10 level was recorded at 322 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) in Jharia, the highest in the country, while the same was recorded 264 un/m3 in Dhanbad, the second highest in the country.
Jharkhand pollution board officials said vehicular emission, road dust, air pollution from bio-mass burning and industrial, construction and demolition activities, from diesel generator sets, and from the use of coal in dhabas and road side eateries were major drivers for worsening air quality in Dhanbad and Jharia.
“The data of 2018 was analysed in the report and we are in 2020. The measures taken to improve the condition in past one year are not reflected . Improvement in the air quality will be visible in the next year’s report, as several steps have been taken,” said AK Rastogi, chairman of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB).
He said restrictions were imposed on unscientific coal dumping and coal transportation. “We are also trying to find out sources of pollution. National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, is studying Jharia and it will submit its report very soon,” Rastogi added.
In 2019, the government of India launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a five-year action plan with a target of reducing concentrations of PM-10 and PM-2.5 by up to 30% by 2024 in 102 non-attainment cities, with 2017 as the base year. The Greenpeace report said the air pollution data shows that Indian cities are not progressing well to achieve the NCAP target.
“The permissible limit for PM-10 is 60 ug/m3, according to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), while it is mere 20 ug/m3, as per the World Health Organization (WHO),” said Avinash Chanchal, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India. He said, “WHO says PM-10 starts impacting health after it exceeds 20 ug/m3 limit.”