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India's Air Pollution: City Rankings



  Mar 09, 2024

Air Pollution Concerns:Most and least polluted cities in India



Overview

Meghalaya’s Byrnihat, an industrial area bordering Assam, emerged as the most polluted urban area in India in February, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). This revelation draws attention to the severe air pollution issues faced by urban centers in the northeast, a region traditionally known for its environmental cleanliness.

Key Findings

• Byrnihat reported a monthly average PM2.5 concentration of 183 µg/m^3, significantly higher than other areas.
• This level is about 60 µg/m^3 more than Bihar’s Araria, the second on the list of most polluted cities.
• Other cities like Hapur (Uttar Pradesh) and Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) followed as the third and fourth most polluted, respectively.
• Byrnihat’s PM2.5 levels were almost 1.8 times higher than those recorded in Delhi for the same period.

Regional Impact

• Nalbari, Agartala, Guwahati, and Nagaon from the northeast also featured among the top 30 most polluted cities in India for February.
• Six out of 11 cities in the northeast with continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations recorded PM2.5 levels beyond the daily National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).

Clean Cities

• On a positive note, Sivasagar, Silchar, Aizawl, and Imphal were among the cleanest cities in the region, recording PM2.5 concentrations below the NAAQS.
• Nationally, Satna (Madhya Pradesh) was identified as the cleanest, with Sivasagar and Silchar also ranking favorably.

Concerns and Recommendations

• Despite improvements, no city met the WHO’s safe guideline concentrations for PM2.5.
• The need for enhanced air quality monitoring in the northeastern states is highlighted to effectively track and address pollution.
• Unregulated industrial activities, inadequate public transportation, and poor pollution control in construction are identified as major contributors to the pollution levels.

Conclusion

The CREA report underscores the urgent need for addressing air pollution in India’s northeastern region, highlighting the contrast between its traditionally clean environment and the current pollution challenges. The significant improvement in air quality with more cities falling into the ‘good’ category offers a glimmer of hope and points towards the potential for positive change with concerted efforts.


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