All eyes were on the Capital as it rolled out the odd-even scheme on Jan 1 as a way to tackle pollution. Many of those watching are from cities where the alarm bells are still silent.”

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“Though almost the entire debate on air pollution has been centered around Delhi, there are several cities and towns in India which have much worse air quality than the national capital. Just outside Delhi, Ghaziabad is one of the most polluted cities in the country.

The Central Pollution Control Board has been running a National Air Quality Monitoring Programme since 1984 under which three pollutants — sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter of less than 10 micron (one micron is a millionth of a metre) (PM10) — are monitored. This programme now covers 254 towns and cities in 29 states and five union territories. There are 612 operating monitoring stations in these places which continuously collect data on these three pollutants.

There are 46 cities in the country with a population of one million or more. These are also amongst the most polluted. We have featured four of these cities here. Based on the average concentration of PM10 in 2013, the last year for which full data is available, Raipur in Chhattisgarh was the worst polluted million-plus city in the country, followed by Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Delhi. The acceptable limit of average annual PM10 concentration is only 60 micrograms per cubic metre (mg/cu m) but Raipur had a concentration of 305 mg per cubic metre in 2013.”

The Indian Express. Read the full length article including details of four cities cities – Raipur, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Allahabad – and their air pollution problems on

Beyond Delhi: Cities with much worse air quality than the national capital get little attention