Winter is on board and once again India is having the worst time of the year for air pollution. Just after Diwali fever faded slowly with the crackers, the air quality index (AQI) hit 980 at 4:30 am on November 8 in New Delhi as per the website AirVisual, which monitors air pollution around the world. Shrouded in toxic smog, the national capital was ranked the most polluted city in the world on November 8, a day after Diwali as per the AirVisual’s global rankings.
Most Polluted Cities are in India – WHO
As per the WHO latest list, eleven out of 12 most polluted cities in the world are in India. 2 of the top 3 polluted cities in the world, as on 13th November, 2018, are located in India and this is enough to raise the alarm bells! Particulate matter, soot, dust, ozone and sulfur oxides are a growing threat for billions around the globe. Even the air has such pollution levels at present that is exceeding the WHO guidelines and is being inhaled by 93 percent of the children overall.
Looking at India, the air quality is epically terrible. With 3 million population, Kanpur tops the chart having an annual average of 319 micrograms per cubic meter of PM 2.5. These particles come from sources like open flames and diesel exhaust and linger in air longer. These particles are the most dangerous as they penetrate the lungs easily and deeper than the larger particles and are therefore a bigger concern for health.
PM10 measurements of the world’s largest cities state an annual average of 292 for India’s capital Delhi which is ahead of Cairo (284), Dhaka (147), Mumbai (104) and Beijing (92).
From vehicles to wood and coal burning and dust storms to forest fires, everything is contributing to the unhealthy levels of pollution. Besides these, the hills and mountains of Indian subcontinent act as basins that trap toxic air over vast swathes of the region which make the air further too lethal to breathe.
The common sources of pollution are cooking stoves, heating fuel and kerosene lighting. Lax enforcement of standards for car emissions, crop burning or dust from construction sites contribute more to the air particulate matters. All of these are result of poor governance and also a major factor of air pollution in urban areas. To control such air pollution, coordination across cities is required and stricter norms of vehicular exhausts and construction need to be imposed.