A study pointing that the pollution levels in New Delhi is worse than that of Beijing may have been quoting the data from the worst period of the year but the air quality in Indian cities is progressively getting worse, UN climate change chief Rajendra Pachauri said on Monday.
“We also have to allow the fact that there are variations in the composition of PM 2.5 in the atmosphere which varies from season to season. It may very well be the study they are quoting is that of the worst period during the year,” he told media here at a pre-launch function of the report on the India-China Low Carbon Study.
The report will be formally launched on Tuesday.
But at the same he said the situation is progressively getting worse in Delhi and Bangalore and even in second rung cities like Ludhiana.
“Frankly I have to look at the numbers to be able to comment. All I can say it is getting progressively worse,” he said responding to questions on a study by Yale University stating that Delhi’s air quality is worse than that of Beijing, which is battling out worst polluted smog considered to several higher than the levels prescribed by the WHO.
Dr. Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore in 2007.
The Yale data was contradicted by officials in Delhi who contradicted it citing data of their own obtained from monitoring stations on the ground.
About the quality of the data provided by the officials in Delhi, he said: “There are gaps in Delhi data. It is an issue needs to be investigated. We are taking about imperfect and inadequate information, we should need to get into this.”
The Ministry of Environment should commission two or three institutions to carry out detailed assessment of the situation and what are the drivers of things making this is worse and future policy making, he said.
On the debate about the safety of the nuclear power plants, he said: “Frankly we have to demystify nuclear energy. People have to have make decision. In a democracy you cannot ignore that aspect.”
He ducked the question whether he is for the nuclear energy or not saying that “one has to be cautious. I would not say close your eyes let us go ahead with nuclear power“.
“Nuclear energy is not a panacea to solve all our problems. We are little glib about it,” he said. He was answering questions abut China’s plans to build 28 nuclear power plants which are under various stages of construction.
Asked about what India can learn from China, he said both can learn each from their strengths. “One cannot generalise. Some sectors they have done well, some we have done well. There has to be exchange of knowledge which will have enormous value for both,” he said.