Cities on Indo-Gangetic plains have worst air : Central pollution watchdog
On the list of 13 cities with bad air, seven cities are from UP and Bihar with Ghaziabad as most pollutednoida Updated: Jan 18, 2018 21:12 IST
Expressing concern over rising air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) cities such as Noida and Ghaziabad, officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said areas which fall in the Indo-Gangetic plains had the worst air quality in the country in 2017.
In a press briefing held in Delhi on Thursday, officials of the CPCB revealed that in the annual average air quality index (AQI) of 13 cities across India in 2017, Ghaziabad topped the chart with the worst air quality while Noida came in eighth.
“After recording the AQI of all cities across India, we compiled a list of 13 cities whose average AQI has remained in the poor category (AQI of 201-300). Ghaziabad topped the list with an average AQI of 258 while Noida ranked eight with an AQI of 216,” said Dr D Saha, CPCB member.
For the past three months, cities in Delhi-NCR have been struggling with poor air quality. The severe AQI, combined with smog, had resulted in several NCR residents complaining of respiratory ailments in November.
The CPCB officials said Noida and Ghaziabad have remained in the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories in the months of November and December.
“When it comes to average AQI of Delhi-NCR, there was an increase in particulate matter (PM)2.5 and PM10 levels from September to November. The PM 2.5 level in September was 55, which rose to 270 in November. The PM10 level was 179 in September and it rose to a maximum of 462 in November,” Dr Saha said.
“Similarly, the AQI of Ghaziabad has been in the ‘very poor (300-400)’ and ‘severe (400-500)’ categories in November and December. Noida was also in the ‘very poor’ category for the entire November and December,” he said.
Substantiating their claims that the Indo-Gangetic plains have the worst air quality in India, Dr Saha said, “In the list of 13 cities, as many as seven cities of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are on the list with Ghaziabad as the most polluted city. The other cities are Kanpur, Lucknow, Gaya, Noida, Varanasi and Patna in that order.”
Commenting on the poor air quality level in cities such as Noida and Ghaziabad, and tier 2 cities of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar such as Muradabad and Patna, Dr Sudhakar, honorary member secretary of CPCB, said, “Air quality is largely dependent on weather conditions as the AQI is directly influenced by relative humidity and temperature. The cities that fall in the Indo-Gangetic plains are the worst affected due to weather and soil conditions. We are closely monitoring the AQI of tier 2 cities of UP and Bihar. We have asked the state pollution control boards to set up more monitoring stations.”
“We want to clarify that there is no study as of date to show that poor air quality or air pollution has increased rate of human morbidity. Air pollution has an effect on people who are already suffering from various ailments. We are investing in more research and development but the need of the hour is to not panic,” Dr Sudhakar said.
He also emphasised on the need for long-term measures to curb air pollution.
“There should be restrictions on open garbage burning and hazardous waste disposal. As for controlling vehicle emissions, there should be a proper traffic system in cities so that there are no bottlenecks that result in snarls which hike pollution,” Dr Sudhakar said.
The CPCB also announced that it will set up warning boards near at least 50 traffic signals in Delhi which will give real-time figures of the city’s AQI.