The annual average air pollution data, obtained from the Central Pollution Control Board for 2014, shows that the air of smaller cities is more polluted than that of Delhi Allahabad Ghaziabad Alwar Bareily Delhi Moradabad Kanpur Faridabad Amritsar
However, their number has increased by 25 per cent since Diwali. Patients are complaining of allergies of ear, nose and throat and conjunctivitis. There is also an increase in the number of patients with chronic pneumonia, he adds.
Though the Diwali smog is a temporary phenomenon, the trend for annual average air pollution, as available from cpcb for 2014, shows that smaller cities, such as Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Alwar and Bareily, have higher levels of particulate matter than Delhi. Similarly, Kolkata and DombivaliAmbernath in Maharashtra have higher nitrogen dioxide levels than Delhi (see ‘Particulates matter’).
Air pollution is a national health crisis today. But action remains sluggish in smaller cities because most people are not aware of the health impacts of air pollution. According to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease report, air pollution killed 627,000 Indians in 2012 and is the fifth largest killer in the country. The tiny particles are directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. National air quality planning is urgently needed to get all cities to implement time-bound action plan to meet the national ambient air quality standards.