Once infamous as the most polluted city across the country; Delhi isn’t anymore. But this doesn’t mean Delhi’ites can breathe easy. Facts simply state that 3 other northern cities have worse air quality than that of the capital.
A study released by IIT-Kanpur and Shakti Foundation crowns Bihar’s capital Patna as the most polluted city nationwide. Kanpur and Varanasi from Uttar Pradesh, follow suit. This brings our capital to number four.
These Top the List of India’s Most Polluted Cities-
The Startling Statistics
Its clearly time to buck up for the study reveals India has 50% more pollution than China this year alone! The following statistics are quite frankly, disturbing.
- Delhi now ranks 4th on the list of most polluted cities
- Patna, Kanpur and Varanasi had extremely poor air quality over 31 days between October and November.
- The particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels hit 170 micrograms per cubic metre and above. For the uninitiated, PM 2.5 particles mean reduced visibility. It also causes major illnesses in the denizens.
However, these issues are not entirely new. The government has been unsuccessfully attempting to resolve them for years.
Experts Point to Pertinent Concerns
Dr S Tripathi of IIT Kanpur spoke of how China has been taking aggressive measures to curb pollution.
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“There are several sources of pollution in India, such as household fumes, solid fuel burning, power plant emissions and trash burning, which have turned out to be major contributors. We need to do something about this. It is a matter of great concern,” Tripathi shared.
International climate experts shared their two cents on the subject. European Climate Foundation Chief Executive officer Laurence Tubiana stated, “India should see the connection between pollution, climate change and health. Pollution is a particularly big problem in its cities.
“Secondly, they need to look at the long-term development pathway, and figure out how India can be turned into a zero carbon emitter in the future,” said Tubiana.
“You have to see the health issues. This has to be part of the election debate, alongside employment and poverty reduction,” she added.
Is the Remedial Action Plan Enough?
Bihar Environment Minister Sushil Modi speaks of remedial actions being put into play. “We have got the stats, and are worried about Patna. We have made an action plan for the capital city, and are trying to implement it.
“Brick kilns that do not conform to our norms have been banned. We have asked builders to cover structures under construction to ensure that the air is not further polluted, and asked for roads to be cleaned regularly,” revealed Sushil Modi.
He suggested that the location of the Ganga was a problem. “Cities situated along rivers are usually the most polluted. There is a big mound near Patna, and when wind blows, the air brings in a lot of dust. This happens primarily in the winter,” he said according to NDTV.
Indeed, pollution and climate change can no longer be a secondary debate! Highlighting them in the prevailing political discourse may be the only way to expect real change.