Not just Delhi: A new analysis of winter air quality across the country has found that the most polluted 23 cities this winter were all situated in North India | Photo: Jagran Images

Eight out of India’s 10 most polluted cities in Uttar Pradesh

Real-time data from 99 cities showed that smaller and upcoming cities are India’s pollution hotspots, a recent analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment stated. This past winter, eight out of the 10 most polluted cities were from Uttar Pradesh, with Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr topping the list. The top 23 polluted cities were in North India, the analysis found.

Delhi occupied the fifth position. Bhiwandi in Rajasthan was at number 10. Mysuru’s air quality was the cleanest, followed by Satna in MP and Kochi in Kerala. PM2.5 levels worsened significantly this past winter in 43 cities compared to previous years, especially in smaller cities such as Gurugram, Lucknow, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Agra, Navi Mumbai, and Jodhpur.

In 2020, over 120K died due to air pollution in India: Greenpeace

A study by Greenpeace and Swiss firm IQAir said air pollution caused around 54,000 premature deaths in New Delhi last year. This was the highest number of deaths compared to any other big global city. Over 120,000 people died all over India, according to the report. In Delhi, PM2.5 peaked in November at 30 times above the World Health Organization’s safe limit, the study showed. 

Earlier, a Lancet study had said 1.67 million lives were lost in India as a whole in 2019 due to toxic air. Pollution also led to around 25,000 premature deaths in India’s financial hub Mumbai in 2020, according to the report. Air pollution caused economic damages to the tune of ₹2 lakh crore in India, the report stated.

Factories burning coal is making Mumbai’s air as bad as Delhi’s: Study

Factories in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) burn two million tonnes of coal annually, altering the city’s coastal trait of clean air through the year, a new study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found. The CSE studied four out of 13 industrial areas, namely Trans-Thane Creek (TTC), Taloja, Ambernath and Dombivali, covering 70% of the industries in MMR. The study estimated the air pollution load from various industrial sectors. An indicative ambient air quality monitoring for particulate matter was also conducted to calculate impact on locals. Trans-Thane Creek was the most polluting, contributing about 44% of the total load from the studied areas, followed by Taloja Industrial Area with a contribution of about 26%. 

Despite complaints by locals, Centre allows expansion of Odisha coal mine

The Centre allowed the expansion of the capacity of the Kulda opencast coal mine in Odisha’s Sundargarh district by 20%, despite complaints  by residents about the project’s impact on their health, agriculture and water bodies. The mine’s output will now increase from the current 14 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 19.60 MTPA, HT reported. 

The green clearance was recommended on the condition that mine owner, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), will plant 100,000 native trees with broad leaves along the villages and 50,000 trees along the transportation route in two years to prevent air pollution. The mining company  will also have to operationalise three air quality monitoring stations by March, and post real-time updates on their website. Residents of nine villages in Himgiri Tehsil of Sundargarh district had complained that the MCL did not comply with conditions of the green clearance recommended in February 2018 for capacity expansion from 10 MTPA to 14 MTPA. A new study, meanwhile, reiterated that coal burning is responsible for heavy air pollution in India.

Pollution control boards to decide which brick kilns will run in Delhi NCR

India’s green court, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), restricted the use of brick kilns using zig-zag technology in the National Capital Region (NCR). The court said between March and June, the number of brick kilns would be allowed to work depending upon the carrying capacity of the area and its air quality, which should be below severe. 

A joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and state pollution control boards (SPCB) will decide which kilns will be allowed to operate. The joint panel will factor in conditions such as distance from sensitive locations and compliance of brick kilns.

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