Only 2 of 10 most polluted cities are covered by govt’s monitoring system: Business Standard

 

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Only two of India’s 10 most polluted cities, and Faridabad, are covered by the government’s real-time air quality monitoring system, leaving more than one billion unprepared for toxic episodes, Greenpeace said on Thursday, asserting that the country’s air is now “deadlier” than China.

In its new analysis, the green body said that in the cities not covered, lack of real-time monitoring means inhabitants cannot check current pollution levels to protect themselves, and the is unable to issue public warnings.

“Only two of India’s 10 most polluted cities are covered by the government’s real-time air quality monitoring system, leaving more than one billion unprepared for toxic episodes. The two cities covered are the capital and Faridabad, an industrial hotspot in northern India.

“In the cities not covered, lack of real-time monitoring means inhabitants cannot check current pollution levels to protect themselves, and the is unable to issue public warnings,” it said.

It said that around 88 million Indians – only 7 per cent of the population – live in the 33 cities that have online monitoring that is available in real time, meaning that less than 10 per cent of India’s 380 urban agglomerations are covered.

Greenpeace said that although the runs several monitoring networks that cover more than 200 cities and towns, measurements in most are only taken twice a week and are not available in real-time.

“Instead, a manual monitoring system means samples must first be sent to a laboratory to be assessed,” it said.

Comparing it with China, where levels in most cities are slowly dropping, the NGO said that in the latter its has built a particle pollution monitoring network covering 400 cities and including 1,500 monitoring stations, all posting data online in real time.

“India’s air is now more deadly than China’s. All of the cities in the top 10 are experiencing levels of the particulate PM10 three-and-a-half times the annual legal limit and 10 times above international guidelines,” the analysis said.

Noting that although media attention focuses on Delhi, the NGO said some of the worst pollution hotspots — four out of the 10 most polluted cities — are found in the coal mining state of Jharkhand.

“It has a population of 32 million but not a single official real-time monitor. Yet Jharkhand is the state googling for information about the most, well ahead of Delhi, per relative search interest metrics on Google Trends,” it said.
Across the country, search interest on has been rising steadily and reached the highest point on record — at least since 2004 — following the enormous pollution levels last October-November.

“Not a single city in northern met international safety guidelines for particle pollution in 2015. Less than 10 per cent of the cities met India’s national air quality standards, which are three times as high as the WHO safety guideline,” it said.

The green body said that India’s pollution levels have been rising at an “alarming” rate as coal consumption almost doubled and oil consumption increased 60 per cent from 2005 to 2015.

Its report last year showed that emissions from coal-based power plants were the largest source of increase in SO2 and NOx emissions in the country — two key pollutants contributing to India’s particle pollution levels.

The NGO said that organisations such as TERI and CSE, along with them, have started calling for a national action plan on to expand measures to reduce emissions from key polluting sectors — power plants, industry, agriculture and transport — beyond individual cities. The national crisis has prompted measures such as new emission standards for coal-based power plants, restrictions on vehicles and the launch of a National Air Quality Index, it added.” Business Standard. Read it on delhiair.org.

Only 2 of 10 most polluted cities are covered by govt’s monitoring system

Air pollution: EPCA to enforce graded response plan in Delhi-NCR: The Times of India

 

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“Odd-even may be back on Delhi roads and a host of other emergency measures will kick in if pollution levels touch emergency proportions with the Centre entrusting the Supreme Court-appointed EPCA to enforce the graded response plan.

Terming air pollution in Delhiand NCR as a “matter of serious concern”, which requires “urgent action”, the Environment Ministry in its notification assigned the task to implement the plan to Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

“In pursuance of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central government hereby assigns the task of implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan to the EPCA…” the notification, dated January 12, said.

The comprehensive plan, prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), that focuses on Delhi, was submitted to the Supreme Court on December 2. The apex court had accepted and asked the Centre to notify it.

Once the plan is notified, emergency measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and ban on construction activities will be automatically enforced in the city if level of PM 2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre and PM 10 levels stay above 500 micrograms per cubic metre for two consecutive days.” The Times of India. Read it on delhiair.org

Air pollution: EPCA to enforce graded response plan in Delhi-NCR

 

Airpocalypse -Assessment of Air Pollution in Indian Cities: Greenpeace

 

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Greenpeace’s full 30-page report on the impact of air pollution throughout India “shows that deadly air pollution is not a problem restricted to Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) or even to India’s metros.”

According to the report, “It [air pollution] is a national problem that is killing 1.2 million Indians every year and costing the economy an estimated 3% of GDP. If the country’s development is important, fighting air pollution has to be a priority. Data gathered by Greenpeace India from state pollution control boards shows that there are virtually no places in India complying with WHO and National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) standards, and most cities are critically polluted. Except for a few places in Southern India which complied with NAAQ standards, the entire country is experiencing a public health crisis due to high air pollution levels. Due to the range of different sectors responsible for pollutant emissions, urgent and determined action is needed by a number of ministries in the states and central governments, industry and general public.”

“The purpose of this report is to show that air pollution is a national problem and it needs to be addressed equally across the country and not only in Delhi or the National Capital Region. The report also tries to identify major sources of pollution in parts of the country based on past research. As a way ahead for the country, our long term goals to solve the air pollution crisis can be universal, while short term solutions are to be decided based on the levels of pollution prevailing in the region.” Greenpeace.

Read the full report on delhiair.org.

Airpocalypse -Assessment of Air Pollution in Indian Cities