New Delhi: Even though the national capital is making headlines due to toxic air quality in the city, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) latest reports that monitors air quality in 48 districts across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi was the worst polluted city in the country. With the average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 491 in its suburbs, which is categorised as ‘severe’, Varanasi has beaten New Delhi which is at 468 (average air quality). The CPCB report highlights that PM2.5 or particulate matter was the major cause of air quality deterioration in Varanasi. PM 2.5 is air pollutant with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, small enough to invade even the smallest airways. This really microscopic particles is considered dangerous as it can enter human lungs with hazardous impact and can worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. This is not the first time when Varanasi has been in the limelight because of Air Pollution; last year too, the city saw severe levels of pollution.
According to the officials of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the dust from construction works in Varanasi was the major cause of pollution. Data for August from UPPCB shows that pollution in Varanasi is up by over 10 per cent compared to August last year.
UPPCB’s Varanasi Regional Officer Anil Kumar Singh adds,
Varanasi has no polluting industry around, and it (pollution) is because most of its roads are dug up and drains are being constructed, so there is heavy civil construction going on. This is the reason of high bad AQI value.
Pointing out that dust pollution, along with sudden dip in temperature in the entire region, was the major cause of poor air quality in Varanasi, Mr Singh said: “Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are all under control.”
Last year, immediately after the release of Air Pollution figures, administration launched a Rs. 737 crore scheme named Sanyojit Kashi in Varanasi in a bid to control Air Pollution under the central government’s smart city plan.
But the fact is that the city is still topping the charts after one year of its implementation when it comes to Air Pollution in India. What’s more, monitoring pollution itself is not being done on priority – even though Uttar Pradesh government has monitors in five places in Varanasi, but, the irony is that it doesn’t report PM 2.5 levels.
The CPCB report also includes other cities that are topping Air Pollution charts, here’s the list of other polluted cities –
- Ghaziabad (485)
- Gurugram (480)
- Noida (470)
- Delhi (468)
- Bhiwadi (463)
- Lucknow (462)
- Kanpur (461)
- Patna (428)
- Faridabad (428)
- Muzaffarpur (409)
- Agra (404)