In­dia tops China in air pol­lu­tion level in­crease

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE - Chetan Chauhan chetan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

GLOBAL RE­SEARCH NASA satel­lites mea­sure aerosol in space; In­dian cities record 10% in­crease in par­tic­u­late mat­ter

NEW DELHI: There's just one area in which In­dia has out­run China — air pol­lu­tion.

The rise in air pol­lu­tion lev­els in In­dian megac­i­ties be­tween 2002 and 2010 has been much more than Chi­nese ur­ban cen­tres. It was also the high­est among 189 cities an­a­lysed by the Tel Aviv Univer­sity, us­ing NASA’s high-tech aerosol mon­i­tor­ing satel­lites.

The study, us­ing data from three dif­fer­ent satel­lites, showed that par­tic­u­late mat­ter — caused by dust and ve­hic­u­lar emis­sions — in­creased by more than 10% in most In­dian cities whereas the max­i­mum in­crease of 5 to 10% was wit­nessed only in north­ern Chi­nese cities.

“The in­creas­ing aerosol trends over the largest cities in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent, West Asia, and North China can be clearly seen. By con­trast, megac­i­ties in Europe, the north­east of US, and South-East Asia show mainly de­clin­ing trends,” said the study, re­leased by the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Cli­mate Change this week.

Ban­ga­lore, the ‘In­dian Sil­i­con Val­ley’, earned the du­bi­ous dis- tinc­tion of wit­ness­ing the sec­ond-high­est in­crease (34%) in air pol­lu­tion lev­els among 189 cities, af­ter Port­land in the US.

Other In­dian cities that recorded a high in­crease in air pol­lu­tion lev­els were Pune at 27%, Nag­pur at 22%, Mum­bai at 18 %, Bhi­lai at 17.7%, Surat at 12.5% and Ahmed­abad at 12%.

How­ever, the usual cul­prits — Delhi and Kan­pur — recorded just 4.2% and 6.5% in­crease in par­tic­u­late mat­ter.

The data cap­tured by satel­lites hun­dreds of me­tres above the ground show a dif­fer­ent pic­ture than in­for­ma­tion gath­ered through ground mon­i­tor­ing.

Also, high at­mo­spheric aerosol con­cen­tra­tion in space mod­i­fies cloud prop­er­ties, lead­ing to less rain­fall, and dim­ming of so­lar ra­di­a­tion in cities. “Data show that so­lar ra­di­a­tion over big cities with high pop­u­la­tion con­cen­tra­tion has re­duced, caus­ing its own health prob­lems,” the study said.

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