India’s Most-Polluted And Least-Polluted Cities
Delhi seems to have improved marginally, when it comes to air pollution. A Greenpeace India report that was released recently, placed the national capital at 10th, in the list of most-polluted cities in India. Unfortunately, cities in Jharkhand have now made it to the top of the list. The industrial towns of Jharia and Dhanbad are severely polluted, an analysis of PM10 data obtained from across 287 Indian cities revealed.
The report says that 231 cities out of the ones surveyed, recorded PM10 levels beyond the permissible level, on at least 52 days in 2018. The Central Pollution Control Board has identified 0-60 micrograms per cubic metre as the safe limit for PM10 levels under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
A look at the most-polluted cities
In Jharia, particulate matter less than 10 micrometres in diameter was as high as 322 micrograms per cubic metre in 2018 - drastically high when compared to the safe limits of 0-60. Much of the problem arises because of coal mining, mine fires, vehicular pollution and wind-blown dust from unpaved roads in the area, says the Greenpeace study.
Uttar Pradesh had six cities that made it to the most-polluted list. Here’s a look at PM10 concentration in the most polluted cities of India.
PM10 concentration in micrograms per cubic metre
Delhi was at the tenth position. Annual average of PM10 levels in Delhi reduced from 240 micrograms per cubic metre in 2017 to 225 in 2018.
In 2015, the Environment Ministry identified 102 cities as ‘non-attainment’ cities (which do not meet NAAQS standards) under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). Ideally, all these 231 cities are non-attainment cities and should be included in the NCAP, Avinash Chanchal, one of the two authors of the report said.
The report says, “The current ambition levels under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) of 20-30 per cent air pollution reduction by 2024 will not lead to breathable air quality in the country, as the pollution levels across much of the country are so high that even a 30 per cent reduction will still leave levels above the NAAQS, not to mention the WHO standards.”
Least polluted cities in India
Lunglei (Mizoram), Dawki (Meghalaya), Kolasib (Mizoram), Champhai (Mizoram), Ravangla (Sikkim), Namchi (Sikkim), Mangan (Sikkim), Chungthang (Sikkim), Nongstoin (Meghalaya) and Pathanamthitta (Kerala) are the top cities in India with the cleanest air, with PM10 concentration less than 35 micrograms per cubic metre. Lunglei has the rare distinction of being the only city in India with levels under prescribed limit as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) of 20 micrograms per cubic metre.