You’re Breathing Poison, North India

Posted by Rohit Dhyani in Environment, Specials
February 11, 2018

Millions of children in India live in areas where the PM10 level in the air is more than the standard. In the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra and Delhi, there are children below the age of five years who are in the grip of polluted air. Air to be poisonous and polluted means increase in particulate matter (PM) level in the air.

There lives around  53% of the population of the country in these cities. The rest 47% of the population lives in such areas. Where air quality figures are not available. It has been reported that 55 crore out of these 63 crore people live in an area where the PM10 level is much higher than the national standard.

If you look at the rankings on the basis of an average PM10 level, then it is known that in 2016, Delhi is at the top with 290 micrograms per cubic meter. Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Patna are slightly below Delhi with 272, 262 and 261 micrograms per cubic meter respectively.

Surprisingly, Dehradun (Uttarakhand) is also in the top ten list, where the average PM is 10, 238 micrograms per cubic meter. In the 280 cities covered in the list in 2016, the average annual PM10 level of the top 20 cities is 290 to 195 micrograms per cubic meter. These cities do not meet the World Health Organization’s air quality standards (average 20 μgm/m2). Not only this, 80% of Indian cities also do not meet the National Air Quality Standards (60 micrograms per cubic meter average) released by the Central Pollution Control Board.

However, in the cities of South India, there is a need to bring the air quality inside the national standard by planning within a fixed time frame.