Even as the national capital Delhi grapples with air pollution which has reached critical levels over the past week, the air quality in the neighboring Uttar Pradesh has also gone worse.
Industrial district Ghaziabad topped the state with Air Quality Index (AQI) touching 435 as of November 7 evening. This is graded as “severe” air pollution, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) norms.
Tourist city Agra (428), Noida (427), Bulandshahr (420), and Kanpur (415) too are listed under “severely” polluted cities.
The CPCB warns, “The AQI above 400 affects healthy people and severely impacts those with pre-existing diseases.” AQI 500 is the maximum limit.
The AQI of the State capital Lucknow and Moradabad was in the range of 390 which is categorized as “very poor” that can lead to respiratory illness after prolonged exposure. Lucknow was the third most polluted city in India, a day before.
“All these cities are primarily industrial cities and their air quality becomes a cause of concern every year. Industrial and vehicular pollution, construction activities, broken roads, and stable burning in rural areas are the major reasons behind it,” says an official.
Low temperature, winds, and mist add to the trouble.
The Uttar Pradesh government has been cracking down on farmers over the past few days alleging that stable burning is the major reason behind the air pollution. As many as 64 farmers have been arrested and 1,000 have been served notices for burning farm stable. More than 580 cases have been registered to prosecute several hundred farmers across the state.
However, no measures have been taken against dust, vehicular and industrial pollutions. Experts say that the situation may worsen further during the Diwali due to burning of fire crackers.
Pollution Officer’s Salary Stopped
The Lucknow administration has stopped the salary of the regional head of the UP Pollution Control Board-Dr Ram Karan- citing “poor performance”. “Lucknow’s air pollution is a cause of concern for all of us. You had been directed to take appropriate action to reduce pollution from time to time. But you haven’t followed the decisions taken by us during the meetings. You haven’t done any field visits. Hence, your salary has been stopped with immediate effect and you are directed to submit your clarification within two days or else action will be taken against you,” District magistrate Abhishek Prakash said in a letter dated Nov 7 which was released to media.
AQI of major cities