Noida, Ghaziabad among top five polluted cities in the country: Greenpeace Report
According to the Greenpeace report, which takes 2018 as the base year and takes particle pollutant 10 (PM10) as the source of pollution, the concentration in Noida has been increasing since 2015.Updated: Jan 22, 2020 07:42 IST
Showing a grim picture of ground realities in terms of air quality in the region, Noida city turned out to be the third most polluted city of the country, with Ghaziabad following closely at the fourth position and Delhi at the tenth position out of a total 287 cities monitored, according to the Airpocalypse report by Greenpeace.
Jharkhand’s Jharia and Dhanbad – two coal producing hubs – have turned out to be the top-most polluted cities, while six out of ten and 12 out of the 20 most polluted cities of the country are from Uttar Pradesh. Mizoram’s Lunglei turned out to be the city with the healthiest air across 287 cities which were mapped.
According to the report, which takes 2018 as the base year and takes particle pollutant 10 (PM10) as the source of pollution, the concentration in Noida has been increasing since 2015. The PM10, which leads to cardiovascular ailments, is mostly caused by emissions from industrial and construction, as well as stubble or garbage burning.
According to the report, Noida’s average PM10 emissions in 2018 were 264 microgrammes per cubic metres (Ug/m3) (245 Ug/m3 in Ghaziabad and 225 Ug/m3 in Delhi), against 216 Ug/m3 in 2017 and 176 Ug/m3 in 2016. Jharia’s net PM10 emissions for 2018 were 322 Ug/m3 while for Dhanbad they were 264 Ug/m3, same as Noida.
Other cities of Uttar Pradesh in the top ten are Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad.
Expert stated that unabated emissions, especially from permanent sources such as power plants across NCR, are one of the base causes of increasing pollution levels, especially in Noida and Ghaziabad.
Avinash Chanchal, one of the authors of the report and Greenpeace India’s senior campaigner, pointed out that the reason behind these levels is the slow process of upgrading emission norms by power plants across NCR, stating that they have a direct effect on Noida and Ghaziabad.
“The situation in Noida asserts that authorities have to shift their focus towards air pollution and need to ensure that apart from permanent sources like industrial, stubble or waste burning emissions, sources such as construction dust, etc., have to be checked regularly. The environment ministry is 2015 gave a two-year deadline to 11 power plants having 33 power producing units to upgrade their emission standards and install a fuel gas desulfurization (FGD) devices to cut emissions, however only two units in Jhajjhar have complied,” said Chanchal.
Activists and residents of Ghaziabad and Noida blame lack of detailed studies and representation in agencies like the Environment and Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
“There is no permanent representative from Gautam Budh Nagar or Ghaziabad in implementation agencies like EPCA. The officials from Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board do attend the meetings but that is not enough to bring attention here. Also, there is a dearth of studies, especially how wind patterns are changing in the region bringing excessive pollutants here. How can we tackle an issue if we are not even aware of the root causes,” said Akash Vashishtha, Ghaziabad-based environment activist and advocate.
Residents also said that by emerging as one of the most polluted cities, Noida is failing its purpose of providing a quality life to its people.
“Despite so many years of existence, the air quality of Noida is among the worst in the country and it seems that all the tall promises made by the officials are hollow. It is the result of utter negligence and reports like these expose it. We hear of massive plantation drives, but no one knows how much of it survives,” said Rajiva Singh, president, Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Association.