Dehradun: The findings of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s ambient air quality index of 273 cities, has red-flagged the rising pollution levels of Dehradun — which has the particulate matter (PM10) levels worse than bigger towns such as Noida, Kanpur and Ghaziabad. In another alarming revelation, pollution levels of Rishikesh is similar to country’s commercial capital Mumbai and Haridwar’s pollution levels are much higher.
The CPCB findings are part of the reply of Union minister of environment, forest and climate change, Harsh Vardhan on December 15 to MP Bhairon Prasad Mishra’s a question. The MP, in the Lok Sabha, had sought statewide data on alarming levels of pollution in cities and the steps taken to combat the situation.
For measuring the ambient air quality (2016), the CPCB has considered three factors, SO2, NO2 and PM10 levels in each city and the close analysis of the chart paints a grim picture of the hill capital. PM10 is actually inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller.
The PM10 values of Dehradun stand at 241, which is higher than Ghaziabad (235) Noida (176), Moradabad (196).
The PM10 values of— Haridwar (129) and Rishikesh (119) — are also disturbing for Uttarakhand. A comparative analysis of the values of the two holy cities with other cities shows that PM10 level of Rishikesh is same as Mumbai (119) and very close to Navi Mumbai (118) and slightly better than Jhansi (116). The PM10 level of Haridwar (129) is close to Kala Amb (128) in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu (131).
Similarly, the SO2 value of Dehradun has been calculated at 26 which much similar to Ulhasnagar (26) in Maharastra and higher than the cities such as Noida (8), Ghaziabad (15) Kanpur (7), Meerut (7) and Ranchi (20). The NO2 value of the hill capital is 29 which more than Lucknow (27), Jodhpur (23) Nagpur (26) and Nasik (27).
Environmentalist Ravi Chopra was surprised to know about the high PM10 value in Dehradun. “It is a reflection of the overall effect of the enormous rise in vehicular population (Vikrams and minibuses) in Dehradun. The merciless cutting down of trees in the city is another reason for the high pollution levels. The successive state governments still lack administrative experience and there is no concern for the environment, forest and river,” Chopra said.
Expressing shock at the CPCB findings, political analyst Udit Ghildyal, said, “The findings are a reminder for the state government to urgently come up with a comprehensive plan to weed out old vehicles or bring CNG fuel buses for Dehradun and Haridwar, otherwise the situation would further worsen.”