Par­tic­u­lates mat­ter

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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.

GRAPHIC: RAJ KU­MAR SINGH / CSE

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