Often in the news for its deteriorating air quality, India’s capital Delhi is again in the limelight for similar reasons.
A study has found that the PM2.5 levels in Delhi have remained twice the safe standards over the past two decades. The new study, conducted by TERI and IIT Delhi, shows that the annual PM2.5 level in Delhi has been 97.4ug/m3 between 1998 and 2005, much higher than permissible limit of 40ug/m3 prescribed by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The study titled, ‘18-year Ambient PM2.5 Exposure and Night Trends in India Cities’, further states that the situation in NCR towns has been no better, with Noida (103.4ug/m3) and Ghaziabad (101ug/m3) being the most polluted.
“As PM 2.5 measurement in India, following international protocols in a systematic manner started in 2008-09, and there was a lack of data prior to 2012, we had to rely on satellite data. Satellite data on aerosol pollution can give us an idea of PM2.5 concentrations and exposures,” Sagnik Dey, Associate Professor at IIT, who led the four-member research team, told Hindustan Times.
Recently, a study by WHO also pointed out that Delhi has the worst air quality among cities in India. This report also highlighted the increasing number of Indian cities, which are slowly reaching the levels of Delhi in terms of pollution. WHO collected data from more than 4300 cities and 108 countries.
WHO report also raised concerns about indoor pollution, especially in developing countries, the report highlighted that more than 40 percent of world’s population does not have clean cooking technology or lightning and people use traditional ways like wood, dung, charcoal, open fire, resulting in 3.8 million deaths due to household pollution in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Union Environment Ministry on April 19 called a meeting for discussion on the implementation of newly framed National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) at an estimated cost of Rs 637 crore. The government plans to install monitoring stations in 100 cities in two years as part of this programme.
The pollution level in Delhi and NCR has been a serious issue and it has been due to the gravity of the problem that measures such as the odd-even scheme, checking of burning slashes by farmers of Haryana, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh, closing construction activities for some time, water sprawling, etc. have been taken from time to time.
However, the results have failed to yield any substantial relief so far.