Monday, February 27, 2012

Greenest people having most polluted Cities: India’s Air Pollution

I felt quite happy reading an article of Mr. Bhagwad on his blog ( citing one study carried out by National Geographic in association with GlobeScan ranking the greatest people across the Globe. To my surprise and happiness Indians were ranked as the greenest people in the world for the third time. However my happiness was quite short lived, once I came across one study related to Environmental performance Index (EPI) for the year 2012 taken up by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. 22 indicators across ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and forest management were selected for this study. In the EPI ranking, Switzerland with 76.69 score got top rank followed by Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg and Costa Rica under strongest performers category . This was not a good report for the India . Ranked at 125 with 36.23 score, she got listed in the category of weakest performers along with Tajikistan , Iran, Iraq and south Africa.

In another significant study , carried out by World Health organization (WHO) regarding the most polluted Cities of the World,India again got it's two cities included in the list of 10 most air polluted cities of the world.

1. Ahwaz, Iran

2. Ulan Bator, Mongolia

3. Sanadaj, Iran

4. Ludhiana, India

5. Quetta, Pakistan

6. Kermanshah, Iran

7. Peshawar, Pakistan

8. Gaberone, Botswana

9. Yasouj, Iran

10. Kanpor, India en/index.html

This study was based on the status of PM10(Particulate Matter 10) an indicator of availability of fine particles of dust and other pollutants less than 10 micron in size which are responsible for a variety of diseases related to Upper respiratory tracts like Asthma, Cough, Cold, and also found to be carcinogenic in many cases. It is also estimated that more than 2 millions people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. As per WHO, air quality guidelines for PM10 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) is as an annual average but as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB ) guidelines the permissible limit of PM10 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3).


The status of other cities having PM 10 more than permissible limit of 60 µg/m3 is as follows.

City Annual Mean PM 10 (µg/m3).
Ahmedabad 80
Nashik 80
Surat 81
Hyderabad 87
Visakhapatnam 87
Rajkot 89
Bangalore 90
Vijayawada 91
Bhopal 93
Nagpur 98
Pune 99
Jaipur 112
Meerut 115
Patna 120
Allahabad 128
Dhanbad 131
Mumbai 132
Jabalpur 136
Faridabad 139
Kolkata 148
Agra 165
Indore 174
Lucknow 186
Delhi 198
Kanpur 209
Ludhiana 251

The ranking of Ludhiana (known for its automobile industries) and Kanpur (for it leather industries) with PM10 limits of 251 and 209 µg/m3 respectively not only speaks about the deteriorated and lethal quality of air but also the effectiveness of regulatory bodies like State Pollution Control Boards and other govt. institutions. Lack of strong and environmentally sensitive political will always be a guiding factor for the improvement or deterioration of such state of affairs.