Stress on meeting reduction targets by experts.
Mumbai: With India accounting for 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world in the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) study, experts have stressed on setting up a deadline to meet reduction targets in terms of air pollution in the recently released draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) policy. In the latest WHO study, Kanpur tops the list of most polluted cities in India followed by Faridabad, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Delhi, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur. The cities were ranked in terms of prominent levels of PM 2.5 i.e. fine particles less than 2.5 micrometre in diameter that pose the greatest health hazard. According to WHO, PM or particulate matter, is a term for particles found in the air including dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets.
The WHO report corroborate the findings of other studies done by independent organisations, highlighting an increase in pollutant levels. Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India, said, “The WHO study also indicates that almost half of the Indian population lives in areas that do not even meet India’s national air quality standards, let alone WHO standards. In such a scenario, there is a need for stringent measures to curb air pollution. The recent introduction of NCAP is a welcome move. However, there is an absence of pollution reduction targets of 35 per cent in three years and 50 per cent in five years in the draft that was earlier discussed by the environment ministry.”
Elaborating on the measures taken to curb air pollution, the spokesperson of WHO India said, “Governments can identify their main sources of ambient air pollution, and implement policies known to improve air quality and public health such as: promotion of public transport, walking and cycling; promotion of power plants that use clean and renewable fuels; and improvement in energy efficiency of homes, commercial buildings and manufacturing.”
“Ranking should be done on similar pattern, similar demography, similar topography, similar population size, similar number of monitoring station and then comes parameter as pm2.5. It is known that Indo-Gangetic plain towns are loaded with natural alluvial soil, and the same is reflected as findings It is known that Delhi has the highest number of monitoring stations in India remaining cities are represented by one or two stations. Now Mumbai is also getting more air monitoring stations. Our present data shows we are improving inspite of activity increase, population density increase. In case of northern cities, which are featured in the WHO study, city limits are increasing, there are intrusion of pollutants from outer city limits.”
- D. Saha, Head of Air Quality Laboratory, Central Pollution Control Board.