Lucknow: A new report released on Tuesday by IIT-Delhi on ambient air pollution levels shows that Agra and Meerut are the most polluted cities in Uttar Pradesh.
The study was conducted in 11 cities of three states of the country-UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.
The report 'Know what you Breathe', supported by Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) over worsening air quality in last two decade, disclosed several important findings including the prior reason for high pre-mature death.
The study finds that annual mortality is in the range of 150-300 persons per year for every 1 lakh population in urban areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Whereas the level of PM 2.5, is more than two times of its National Annual Standard and eight times of WHO annual permissible limits in all the studied cities with the exception of Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand.
The report studies the annual mean PM2.5 concentration for eleven north Indian cities using the satellite data of last 17 years .Of these 11 cities, eight are also listed in the global air quality assessment report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) titled Global Ambient Air Quality Database. With specific findings related to Uttar Pradesh, the report highlights that Meerut (99.2 µg/m3 ) and Agra (91 µg/m3 ) situated on the western flanks of Indo-Gangetic plain are most polluted.
The level of pollution is moving downward from west to east of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Rise in particulate matter pollution is 'Alarming' in Meerut, Agra, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Varanasi while its 'Moderate' in Kanpur and Allahabad in UP. On annual premature mortality due to rising air pollution, Kanpur has highest with 4173 death/year-followed by Lucknow with 4127-death/per year. Of the annual premature mortality number are converted to every one lakh population, Meerut and Agra have highest number of 290 death per one lakh population. Children are worst victim of air pollution in Meerut. Further, post-monsoon (October-November) and winter (December-February) seasons have high pollution exposure due to calm weather and lower atmospheric boundary layer.
While talking about the report, Programme Director of CEED Abhishek Pratap, said, "We are witnessing a public health emergency in our cities as polluting air is choking our lungs. State and Union Governments need to take note of this alarming situation and create national clean air action plan which is ambitious, effective and focuses on time-bound implementation".
Mr Pratap further added that the best effort to reduce air pollution will go to waste without a proper monitoring system. Without data, your basically driving blind and are sure to crash.
While speaking on key finding of the report Ankita Jyoti, Senior Programme Officer at CEED said, "The analysis of aerosol composition in our study indicates a higher percentage of sulphates, organic carbons and black carbon, which are emitted primarily from anthropogenic sources. High rate of unplanned urbanisation is main anthropogenic source of rapid increase in the pollution level, meanwhile meteorology and topography play a major role in modulating pollution level as well." She further adds that "residential (cooking, heating and lighting) sources are largest contributor of PM2.5 emission in these cities followed by industry, transport and energy sectors." The report also stresses on the need of public awareness, inter-state coordination and efficient regional clean air action plan for the Indo-Gangetic plains along with source apportionment study for each city as some plausible action agenda for improving air quality in these cities. UNI