In Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad And Kolkata, Air Pollution Rises While It Declines In Lucknow, Patna, Bengaluru And Chennai

Delhi has been experiencing a persistent upward trend in air pollution since 2021

With the onset of winters once again, Indian cities, specially Delhi & NCR region grapples with significant air pollution challenges, affecting the health and well-being of all. Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata saw PM 2.5 levels higher in October 2023, compared to a year ago.Delhi’s PM 2.5 level is showing a continuous rising trend since 2021. The smog in the atmosphere which earlier was more prominent in December, can be seen since the onset of November.

Regional Disparities : While some cities witnessed rising pollution levels, others, like Lucknow, Patna, Bengaluru, and Chennai, managed to reduce PM 2.5 levels, demonstrating the potential for successful air quality improvement efforts.

Delhi’s Ongoing Crisis: Delhi, the nation’s capital, has been experiencing a persistent upward trend in air pollution since 2021. PM 2.5 levels have exceeded the safe limits recommended by both national and international standards, raising serious health concerns for its residents.

India is home to a diverse and dynamic environment, but it also grapples with significant air pollution challenges, affecting the health and well-being of all. The latest research, conducted by Respirer Reports, unveils crucial insights into the evolving air quality landscape in the country, with a focus on the past five years.

It was the most polluted of the eight cities analyzed according to a report released by Respirer Living recently. The national capital saw a sharp rise in PM 2.5 levels between 2019 and 2020 (by 32 per cent), a dip in 2021 (by 43.7 per cent), and a steady increase in 2022 and 2023.

The air quality deteriorated by 4.4 per cent in the last year (2022-23), from 109.1 micrograms/cubic metre (μg/m3) to 113.9 μg/m3. The October 2023 level was 3.7 times the Central Pollution Control Board’s ‘safe’ limit of 30 μg/m3 and 7.5 times the World Health Organisation’s safe limit of 15 μg/m3.

Mumbai saw a steady increase in October PM 2.5 levels from 2019 to 2023, signaling a significant deterioration in air quality.
o Last month, pollution spiked by over 42 per cent compared to October a year ago.
o In earlier years, PM 2.5 shot up between 2019 and 2020 (by 54.2 per cent), fell slightly in 2021 (by 3 per cent) and 2022 (by 0.9 per cent).

 In Hyderabad and Kolkata, October PM 2.5 levels went up in 2023 compared to 2022.
o In Hyderabad, PM 2.5 increased between 2019 and 2020 (by 59 per cent), dipped slightly in 2021 (by 2.9 per cent) and considerably in 2022 (by 29.1 per cent), but went up again in 2023 (by 18.6 per cent).
o In Kolkata, PM 2.5 dipped between 2019 and 2020 (by 26.8 per cent), went up in 2021 (by 51.7 per cent), decreased in 2022 (by 33.1 per cent) and rose again in 2023 (by 40.2 per cent)

Four capitals saw a fall in October PM 2.5 levels between 2022 and 2023 – Lucknow, Patna, Bengaluru and Chennai.
 In Lucknow and Patna, October PM 2.5 levels dropped between 2022 and 2023, holding on to gains from previous years.
o In Lucknow, PM 2.5 spiked between 2019 and 2020 (by 55.2 per cent), dipped in 2021 (by 53.4 per cent), went up again in 2022 (by 6.2 per cent) and fell again in 2023 (by 0.9 per cent).
o In Patna, PM 2.5 fell between 2019 and 2020 (by 14 per cent), dipped further in 2021 (by 36.7 per cent), spiked significantly in 2022 (by 47.7 per cent), then went down again in 2023 (by 11.1 per cent).
 In Bengaluru and Chennai, October PM 2.5 levels fell between 2022 and 2023.
o In Bengaluru, PM 2.5 increased significantly between 2019 and 2020 (by 72.1 per cent), fell slightly in 2021 (by 5.8 per cent), went up again in 2022 (by 29.6 per cent) and dipped once again in 2023 (by 11.6 per cent).
o In Chennai, PM 2.5 increased between 2019 and 2020 (by 43.2 per cent), fell in 2021 (by 27.8 per cent), rose again in 2022 (by 61.6 per cent) and decreased in 2023 (by 23.7 per cent).

The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy

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