Saturday, April 13, 2024

Delhi has poorest air in world but Kejri isn’t amiss

New Delhi has topped the list of the world’s regional capital cities with the poorest air quality. The revelation was made in a 45-page report [pdf] titled ‘2023 World Air Quality Report’ and published by IQAir on Tuesday (19th March).

The Swiss air quality technology company found that New Delhi ranked No.1 in Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) concentration compared to the national capitals of 114 countries.

“The Central and South Asia region reports data from ten nations. All four of 2023’s most polluted countries in the world are hosted in this region, including Bangladesh, India, Tajikistan, and Pakistan,” the report stated.

It further added, Ranking as the third most polluted country in the region and world in 2023, India continues to struggle with drastically poor air quality. Annual average PM2.5 concentrations rose slightly in 2023 to 54.4 µg/m3 compared to 53.3 µg/m3 in 2022.”

IQAir pointed out that PM 2.5 levels rose by 10% in Delhi last year, with November rated as the month with the poorest air quality. According to the Swiss air quality technology company, India’s National Capital witnessed an average of 255 µg/m3 PM 2.5 concentration in November.

“It is estimated that 1.36 billion people in India experience PM2.5 concentrations exceeding the WHO recommended annual guideline level of 5 µg/m3; furthermore, 1.33 billion, or 96% of the population, experience PM2.5 levels more than seven times the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline,” the report emphasised.

IQAir noted that while India has an extensive air quality monitoring network, it is home to 13 of the 15 most polluted cities in South Asian region.

It stated, “Northern India and Delhi struggle with smoke from crop burning, vehicle emissions, coal burning, waste burning, and biomass burning for heat and cooking. Annual crop burning in northern India and neighboring Pakistan regularly results in Delhi experiencing emergency-level air quality days.”

The Swiss air quality technology company pointed out that vehicular emissions contributed to 40% of PM 2.5 emissions in New Delhi.

Misplaced priorities and Delhi’s deteriorating air quality

Air pollution in Delhi is a non-issue in both public and political discourse until the festival of Diwali in late September-October each year.

Politicians and the left-liberal ecosystem channelise their energy into shaming Hindus for burning firecrackers while remaining indifferent to the major contributors of air pollution. A 2017 IIT-Kanpur report had revealed that construction dust was the biggest culprit for deteriorating air quality in Delhi, followed by vehicular pollution and bad infrastructure.

Experts had observed that the air quality of the NCR deteriorated despite no firecracker being burnt at the time of the study. The air was the cleanest in the week of Diwali suggesting that the rise in pollutant values was observed during the peak of the winter season.

Until February last year, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was seen browbeating about the fact that Delhi was not included in the world’s top 10 cities in air pollution.

Although the 2021 World Air Quality Report by IQAir has left bare the claims of improving air quality in the National Capital, past record suggests that the Delhi government is unlikely to act on it anytime soon.

(This piece is courtesy OpIndia)

Read More

Support Us
Contribute to see NewsBred grow. And rejoice that your input has made it possible.