Okay, Delhi some good news for you. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, Varanasi, Allahabad and Gwalior did not have a single “good air” day throughout 2015. This makes these cities worse than Delhi in terms of lack of clean air, says a TOI report. On the contrary, Delhi saw 24 clean air days last year, when PM2.5 concentrations were below 30 mgm3. The figures were quoted in “Varanasi Chokes”, a report released in Varanasi on Monday and it was presented by IndiaSpend, Centre for Environment and Energy Development and Care4Air at a workshop in the holy city .
In 2015, the north Indian cities of Varanasi and Allahabad had no days (of 227 and 263 monitored, respectively) with good air quality–when the average levels of fine, toxic dust called PM 2.5 was below national air quality safe levels–according to the report. Varanasi has only three air quality monitoring stations with just one online monitoring station that monitors both PM10 and PM2.5. In comparison, Delhi has 13 continuous air quality monitoring stations.
The scientists who participated in Monday’s conference said that emission sources in the Indo-Gangetic plains had increased massively, contributing to the problem. “There is satellite data to show how aerosol optical depth (pollution particles) has increased rapidly in the last decade in the region. We need tighter emission standards for industries and other sources to control this,” said S N Tripathi of department of civil engineering at IIT Kanpur. The report also quotes testimonies of doctors and patients from Varanasi who say there is several-fold rise in health conditions associated with air and water pollution.