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Ghaziabad topped list of most polluted cities seven times in last 14 days

By Peeyush Khandelwal, Ghaziabad
PUBLISHED ON DEC 05, 2020 11:26 PM IST

Ghaziabad on Saturday once again topped the charts as the most polluted city in the country among over 100 cities listed in the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Air Quality Index (AQI) bulletin.

As per CPCB data, Ghaziabad recorded the maximum instances of “severe” AQI recordings — at least seven times in the past 14 days — between November 22 and December 5.

The last time the city emerged as the most polluted city was on November 22 and continued the trend till November 25 for four consecutive days. Thereafter, the city once again emerged as the most polluted on December 1 for two consecutive days. Finally, the city topped the list yet again on Saturday with an AQI value of 434 under the “severe” category.

The experts said that the current pollution scenario in Ghaziabad can be attributed more to the local pollutants rather than stubble burning fumes from the neighbouring states.

“The city has a number of major construction and infrastructure projects as well as industrial units and vehicles. So, local factors are more responsible for the current situation. Further, meteorological conditions, such as low wind speeds and low temperatures are also helping in the accumulation of pollutants,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of Indian Meteorological Department’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, New Delhi.

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the rising air pollution in the city and its continuing trend this season. “Similar pollution levels have been prevalent for the past several years now, although officials claim that they have taken several steps to check pollution. But pollution in the city continues unabated and is a major cause for concern for residents. Nowadays, there is no issue of stubble-burning. Almost all pollutants are now BEING generated at the local level,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist and a lawyer.

“Moreover, there is also a lot of diversion due to farmers’ protest and roads remaining choked. This also results in lot of vehicular emission,” he, added.

According to CPCB records, the city also topped the list of most polluted cities at least six times in January and eight times in February. In March too, the city topped the list of most polluted cities at least twice. On all the 15 occasions in the months of January, February and March, the city topped the list when the AQI was under “poor” or “very poor” categories.

“We are taking up every measure to check pollution and recently all agencies have been asked to step up measures to effectively control local pollutants,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate. Several of the officials of the regional office of the UP Pollution Control Board are suffering from Covid-19, which has hampered process of monitoring.

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