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Delhi air pollution: 29 red alert days in November

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Air pollution
source: dubeat.com
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New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality was so poor in the month of November this year that according to China’s pollution warning system, 29 days of the 30 would have been termed as ‘red alert’ days.

A red alert is issued in China if there are more than 350 micrograms of coarse particulate matter (PM10) in one cubic metre.

According to Greenpeace India’s analysis of the National Air Quality Index, the period of September to November in Delhi had 33 such days, 29 of which were in November.

While the standard level of PM10 per cubic meter is 100 micrograms, the monitoring station at Anand Vihar recorded the level at 1,433 micrograms earlier in the week. That is a staggering 14 times more than the average level of particulates.

A red alert in China shuts down polluting industries and schools, while vehicular pollution is strictly checked and directives issued. A similar system in India is being called forth by activists.

Greenpeace India campaigner, Sunil Dahiya said, “We have monitoring stations and the data is available on the government’s sites. But, the average citizens are not aware of the data. There is a need for an alarm system.”

India’s own governmental data showed that several cities in North India were in worse shape than Beijing, added Dahiya.

“We can no longer deny that we are in a state of crisis, and equally, that this crisis creates the imperative to come up with policies to put an end to India’s air pollution crisis,” said Dahiya.

Both national and regional plans are required on a long-term basis to truly affect the growing pollution crisis, according to environmentalists. The general population needs to be made aware of the crisis so that a collective effort can come into place.

“The Delhi Government’s car rationing policy and move to shut down power plants will reduce pollution, but we need to move to renewable energy,” added Dahiya.

 

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Air Pollution: WHO Releases List of The Best And Worst Cities

90% of world's population breathes badly polluted air: WHO

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Air Pollution
WHO releases a list of most and least polluted cities. Pixabay

Nine out of every 10 people on the planet breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants and kills seven million people each year, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) study released on Wednesday.

The study is an analysis of what the WHO says is the world’s most comprehensive database on ambient air pollution. The organisation collected the data from more than 4,300 cities and 108 countries, reports CNN.

People in Asia and Africa face the biggest problems, according to the study.

More than 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths happen there, but cities in the Americas, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean also have air pollution levels that are beyond what the WHO considers healthy.

The new WHO data show that US cities on the more polluted side of the list include Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Fresno, California; Indianapolis; and the Elkhart-Goshen area of Indiana.

Air Pollution.
Air Pollution. Pixabay

Peshawar and Rawalpindi in Pakistan, have some of the highest particulate air pollution levels in the database. Varanasi and Kanpur in India; Cairo; and Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, also show higher levels.

“I’m afraid what is dramatic is that air pollution levels still remain at dangerously high levels in many parts of the world,” CNN quoted Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, as saying.

“No doubt that air pollution represents today not only the biggest environmental risk for health, but I will clearly say that this is a major, major challenge for public health at the moment and probably one of the biggest ones we are contemplating.”

Particle pollution, a mix of solid and liquid droplets in the air, can get sucked into and embedded deep in your lungs when you breathe. That can lead to health conditions including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), according to the study.

Also Read: Air Pollution And Its Effects On Our Health

These outdoor particulates — including sulphate, nitrates and black carbon — are largely created by car and truck traffic, manufacturing, power plants and farming. In total, air pollution caused about 4.2 million deaths in 2016, it added.

“Many of the world’s megacities exceed WHO’s guideline levels for air quality by more than five times, representing a major risk to people’s health,” Neira said. This is “a very dramatic problem that we are facing now”.

Cleaner air accounts for in cities like like Wenden, Arizona (population 2,882), or Cheyenne, Wyoming (population 64,019).

The Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna area of California; Battlement Mesa, Colorado; Wasilla, Alaska; Gillette, Wyoming; and Kapaa, Hawaii, are all on the cleaner-air list.

One of the bigger US cities with cleaner air is Honolulu, according to the WHO data.  (IANS)

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