by Elton Gomes
Since the past 72 hours, Kolkata’s air quality has been deteriorating rapidly. Due to rising pollution levels, Kolkata has surpassed Delhi, and is now India’s most polluted metropolitan city.
Experts claim that a large number of diesel vehicles could be a reason for an increase in pollution in Kolkata. According to a report in the Times of India, Kolkata has only one-fourth of vehicles than those in Delhi.
A comparison of the pollution data at the two stations in When pollution data from Kolkata’s Rabindra Bharti University (RBU) and Victoria Memorial Hall was compared with Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, it was revealed that Kolkata’s air quality index (AQI) was consistently above Delhi’s AQI.
This comes after a report in June ranked Kolkata as the second-most polluted metro city in India. The report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned that Kolkata is the second-most polluted metro city in India after Delhi. The report also said that Kolkata’s air quality was declining faster than that of the national capital.
Kolkata seemed to be under the grip of severe air pollution. The city’s pollution levels reportedly saw a spike in 2017-18 due to steady rise increase in construction activities, biomass burning, and an increase in the number of vehicles.
In the past 72 hours, the air quality index (AQI) in the City of Joy has dipped to “very poor” category, crossing levels registered in the national capital, making it the most polluted city.
The National Air Quality Index website showed that the overall PM 2.5 count at Rabindra Bharti University (RBU), one of the two stations in the city, stood at 381 (very poor) on Thursday when compared to Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, considered to be the national capital’s most polluted zones, where the AQI was recorded at 292.25. The average AQI at Victoria Memorial was noted at 310.75.
On Friday, the average AQI at Rabindra Bharti University stood at 359.75 while Ashok Vihar’s air quality was recorded at 292.25. An AQI of 288 was registered at Victoria Memorial. On Saturday, the average AQI at RBU stood at 330.25 when compared to Ashok Vihar, where the AQI was recorded at 293. Victoria Memorial noted an AQI of 242.5. IE
Kolkata’s air after Diwali
A day after Diwali, the air quality in parts of Kolkata dropped to the “very poor” level as people defied the Supreme Court’s order directing that firecrackers be burst only between 8 pm to 10 pm.
The website of National Air Quality Index showed that the PM 2.5 count shot up to 330 at the Rabindra Bharati automatic air monitoring station on B T Road, while the count was 373 at the Victoria Memorial monitoring station in central Kolkata at 11 am on Thursday. Any reading between 301 to 400 in AQI is termed as “very poor”. IE 2
Environmentalist Naba Dutta blamed the state government for its failure to crackdown on the sale of illegal firecrackers which, according to him, led to the poor air quality in the city. IE 2
Delhi’s air pollution
The national capital’s air quality remained under ‘poor’ category at various places. Citizens woke up to a hazy morning on Monday. Comparatively, the overall air quality of Delhi improved on Monday, it was recorded at 272 and on Sunday it was recorded at 326. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), thick smog continued to engulf the national capital and is expected to make the situation worse in coming days. MN
According to news agency ANI, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has advised people to restrict outdoor activities, especially those having breathing issues, as prolonged exposure can cause diseases as well. MN
The environment experts are focusing on increasing awareness about the usage of public transport and avoid diesel and petrol running vehicles. MN
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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