Delhi, Faridabad and Varanasi have the poorest air quality among the 32 Indian cities which are connected to the web-based system National Air Quality Index Portal. Howrah, Nashik and Durgapur had the cleanest air. Average AQI for the period Nov 2015 to October 2016 was released for these cities by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Tuesday in response to a Parliament Question.
Eight of the 32 cities had ‘poor’ air quality, averaged through the 12 months in the reference period. Another eight cities had ‘moderate’, 15 had ‘satisfactory’ and only one — Durgapur — had ‘good’ air quality.
Click and zoom into the map and find out the air quality index of the plotted cities:
In the response, the government said that “care has to be exercised before drawing any inference” from WHO’s ambient air pollution database released in May 2016, which found that 10 of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world belong to India, as ranking is “based on extrapolation of data relating to PM10 to arrive at PM2.5 data based on conversion factors in respect of cities where PM2.5 data is not measured.”
The ministry attributed the increase in pollution to meteorological conditions like low temperature, wind speed and mixing height along with other factors like road dust, vehicular emissions, construction and demolition activities, industrial emissions and stubble burning.