The latest WHO report on pollution, which listed over 30 Indian cities among hundred most polluted globally, was “misleading” and India will soon come out with air pollution data of major cities across US and Europe, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said today.
Javadekar said the WHO report had not factored in various key pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and benzene while analysing the air quality and wondered why western countries focus more on India and some other countries and not themselves.
The WHO report, based on 2012-13 data, was prepared taking into consideration particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 and listed Delhi as the 11th most polluted city in the world. Environmentalists had sounded caution over the report, saying it does not give the right picture.
Javadekar said to categorise the cities as polluted based on only PM 2.5 was misleading as there are eight other major pollutants which have adverse impact on health.
“There is ozone pollution, benzene pollution, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide pollution among eight major pollutants. All have adverse impact on health. On each parameter, each pollutant, there are different cities in the world which are bad and good,” he said.
The Minister said the government will soon come out with air pollution data of major cities in the US and Europe and that sourcing their data will not be a problem.
“We will come out with the statistics as people should know the whole picture. Otherwise, (making the report only) on PM 2.5 is misleading,” Javadekar told PTI in an interview.
The Minister also said he was surprised why western countries only focus more on India and some other countries and not themselves.
“Every citizen has the right to have full knowledge. PM 2.5 is not the only pollutant. There are many cities in the western countries as well which are suffering. So let citizens know that pollution problem is all over, in different categories and degrees,” he said.
The Minister said government’s decision to publish pollution data of other countries is not to counter but to spread awareness.