Air pollution: These are India’s most polluted cities; Delhi tops the list

Even as the air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region continue to remain ‘very poor’ with the toxic pollutants – PM 2.5 and PM 10 – remaining above normal at many places, a report by Greenpeace India has set alarm bells ringing for residents.

The Greenpeace’s study titled ‘Airpocalypse’ named Delhi as the most polluted city in the country out of 20 cities, with PM10 levels between 168 and 268 units, for the year 2015, and fossil fuel as major contributor to unbreathable air. This was 4.5 times of the NAAQ standards and 13 times the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. The study pointed out that it’s not just Delhi, but none of the 168 Indian cities monitored comply with the WHO standards. While no cities meet the WHO standards, only a few cites in southern India, like Warangal in Telangana, meet the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) standards, it said.
Delhi is followed closely by Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Bareily in Uttar Pradesh; Faridabad in Haryana; Jharia in Jharkhand; Alwar in Rajasthan; Ranchi, Kusunda and Bastacola in Jharkhand; Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh; and Patna in Bihar, with PM10 levels ranging from 258 to 200 units. As per WHO’s prescribed standards, PM10 and PM2.5 (particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm) should be 50 and 25 units annually, while as per NAAQ, it should be 60 and 40 units, respectively. The report also claimed 1.2 million deaths take place every year in India due to air pollution. The report is based on the data obtained through different sources and the Right to Information (RTI) Act for 24 states and union territories.

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