According to the data shared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the pollution level in Chandigarh in the year 2016 was higher than Delhi. CPCB shared that the particulate matter levels 2.5 in Chandigarh were higher than Delhi in 2016.
There were fine inhalable particles found in Chandigarh with diameters 2.5 micrometer and smaller that is more than thrice the permissible limit. In 2016. The annual average level of the fine particulate matter was found to be 123 µg/m3 while in Delhi it was 118 µg/m3.
The particulate matter levels in small industrial towns in West Bengal like Durgapur and Asansol were very high in 2016. The high PM 2.5 levels in Westbengal, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and other industrial towns underscores the need to move India’s pollution control policy beyond New Delhi and NCR.
High PM 2.5 Pollution Levels lead to Respiratory Diseases
The PM 2.5 levels were 88 in Asansol, 74 in Durgapur and 75 in Silvassa while the permissible level of particulate matter is 45 µg/m3. The smaller the size of particles, the more harmful they are as they can reach deeper into the lungs with breath. Extremely small particles of air pollution are able to enter the bloodstream and may damage the vital organs.
Higher levels of particulate matter in the air are harmful and may lead to lung and heart diseases, asthma and other respiratory problems. Chandigarh has witnessed an increase in the respiratory infection cases from 1 lakh in 2013 to 1.7 lakh cases in 2016. Since the time when Indian government had set the PM 2.5 standards, the non-monitoring of PM 2.5 levels in more than two third of the cities is a big gap.
PM 2.5 Pollution levels were highest in West Bengal and Goa
A CPCB official told that they need to monitor PM levels in all the cities of India where the quality of air pollution is monitored. When the monitoring of PM 2.5 levels was done in 31 cities, the annual PM 2.5 levels were found to be higher than the last year. The highest levels of PM 2.5 was found in the industrial towns of West Bengal and Goa.
Currently, there are no standards or monitoring mechanism to measure PM1 levels in India. PM1 is the smallest sized particle with diameter 1 micron or less. These particles are much finer and more harmful than the PM2.5 and PM10. In 2016, the Delhi Pollution Control Board had announced some plans to monitor the PM1 levels by Diwali 2017 but the process is yet to begin.