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Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam most polluted cities in South India, says report

Both in terms of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution levels, Visakhapatnam stands first while Hyderabad at second, making them the major polluted city in South India.

January 28, 2022 / 03:42 PM IST

Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad have emerged among the most polluted cities in South India, according to a report released by Greenpeace on January 27.

Annual PM10 levels in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad exceeded the prescribed WHO guidelines by seven times, while PM2.5 levels have exceeded by seven to eight times, the report said.

Both in terms of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution levels, Visakhapatnam stands first while Hyderabad at second making them the major polluted cities in South India.

As per the report, it was found that despite pandemic-induced lockdowns and subsequent reduction in economic activities, the annual average values of PM2.5 and PM10 exceeded WHO revised standards by many folds.

Air pollution data from ten cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Amaravati, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Mangalore, Puducherry, Coimbatore and Mysore – were selected and analysed based on the availability of data, population and monitoring station networks. The data was obtained from 20th November 2020 to 20th November 2021. The results were compared with both the prescribed air quality standards as referred by WHO and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

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The report was to analyse the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from ten major cities of Southern India whose average pollution levels exceeds the latest World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

As per the report, the analysis was a much-needed reminder that air pollution is a public health crisis that is not confined to cities only in Northern India.

Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Mangalore and Amaravati saw annual PM2.5 levels exceed WHO guidelines of 5 µg/m3 by 6 to 7 times.

While in Mysuru, Kochi, Chennai and Pondicherry, PM2.5 levels exceeded the guidelines by 4 to 5 times.

In comparison, while annual PM10 levels in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad exceeded the prescribed WHO guidelines of 15 µg/m3 by 6 to 7 times, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Amaravati, Chennai and Kochi recorded data that exceeded the limit by 3 to 4 times. Mysore, Coimbatore and Pondicherry recorded PM10 data that exceeded the WHO guidelines for safe air by 2 to 3 times.

The report states that the primary contributors to worsening the air quality are fossil fuel-powered infrastructural  development, industries, transport, waste burning and construction activity.

Commenting on the analysis, Avinash Chanchal, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India said: “The data shows that lockdown is not a solution to air pollution. Relatively lesser economic activity and vehicles is also putting us in a dangerous position. We have to prioritize the immediate shift to clean energy and clean transport to stop more damage.”

“Making our urban transport networks accessible and sustainable can play a major role in combating India’s urban air pollution crisis. Majority of the population in these cities is already using public transport or sustainable ways of transportation. But the infrastructural focus is still on private vehicles. Efforts and lifestyle of the masses must be appreciated and encouraged as they are contributing to making our cities sustainable,” he highlighted.

Terming the citizenry using public transport as ‘Heroes’, Chanchal adds, “The pollution control boards must realise that no level of air pollution is safe and even the long term exposure of lower level of concentrations of air pollution can severely impact human health. Thus, the CPCB must revise the current national ambient air quality standards for all pollutants based on WHO’s proposed interim target and  gradually achieve the revised standards.”

Meanwhile reports have stated that Hyderabad has been the most preferred location to live. In 2020, The News Minute had cited a report which was released by Catenon which said that Hyderabad and Pune emerged as the most preferred cities for settlement for technology professionals on parameters of job opportunities, infrastructure and improved quality of living.

Another report in 2018 also found Hyderabad and Pune as the best Indian cities to live in.



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first published: Jan 28, 2022 03:42 pm
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