Jan 30, 2014, 2:38 AM
News Code: 81017459
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Air quality in India’s national capital deteriorates

New Delhi, Jan 30, IRNA – Despite total public transport, buses, autos, taxis and cabs run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), India’s national capital, Delhi's air quality has deteriorated drastically, beating Beijing which is possibly the most polluted in Asia, according to a study.

The study shows that atmospheric particulate matter has registered 47 per cent increase in the last 12 years.

A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study found that the Chinese capital has worked much harder in achieving better air quality while despite facing similar challenge of cleaning up its air, Delhi has lacked aggression and stringency of action needed to protect public health.

CSE found an increase in the annual trend in 'PM10' in Delhi after reviewing and comparing the available air quality data from the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Pollution Control Board.

The CSE report said that as far as annual trend in PM10 levels was concerned, it found that in Beijing, it had decreased by about 40 per cent from 2000 to 2013 while in Delhi, the PM10 levels have increased by about 47 per cent from 2000 to 2011.

'PM10 levels in Delhi are nearly double that of Beijing,' pti reported quoting the CSE statement as saying. At the same time, as far as trends in daily PM2.5 levels are concerned, the CSE found that Beijing in the year 2013 showed that it has varied from less than 50 to as high as 400 microgram per cubic metre (m/cum), but have largely remained below 250 m/cum.

Thus, even their winter peaks have not exceeded 400 m/cum, the CSE said. In Delhi analysis of the winter pollution when levels are higher than in other seasons was done.

'The continuous daily average PM2.5 data for the period November 2013 to January 2014 shows that average levels have been about 240 m/cum which is about four times higher than the Indian standards. During this period, the peak levels have hit as high as 575 m/cum – nine times higher than the Indian standards,' CSE said.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the US-based Yale University showed that India performed the worst among other emerging economies including, China in terms of air quality.

The Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2014 ranks India 155th out of a total 178 countries. China ranks 118, Brazil 77, Russia 73 and South Africa 72.

It said that India scored an overall 31.23 while China ranked 118 with an overall score of 43.

Meanwhile, CSE study suggests that soft options are all exhausted in Delhi. The city needs aggressive and time-bound action to meet clean air standards and reduce public health risks.

Delhi will have to fulfill the 12th Five-Year plan target of meeting the ambient air quality standards by the end of the plan period. This requires time-bound action plan for each source of pollution, especially vehicles that emit toxic fumes in our breathing zone. Agencies will have to be made accountable for meeting these targets.

According to CSE study, restricting car usage, upgrading public transport with walking and cycling access, and leapfrogging vehicle emissions standards to Euro V and Euro VI and controlling dieselization are now the only options left for the city.