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Urban Pollution Improvement: Maharashtra is second worst-performing state in 2017-22

From 2017 to 2022 Maharashtra experienced a dip of 7.7% in PM 2.5 levels, according to a report by Climate Trends.

Urban Pollution Improvement: Maharashtra is second worst-performing state in 2017-22
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In terms of improving Urban Air Quality, Maharashtra was the worst-performing state (just after Gujarat). Between 2017 and 2022, Maharashtra witnessed a slower reduction in air pollution compared with other cities and states across the nation.

This was reported as per the data analysis from 2017-2022 on the annual average carcinogenic particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels shows.

The report also stated, “PM 2.5 across the rural and urban regions have plateaued over the last six years and is witnessing a consistent decline.” This was noted based on an analysis of remote sensing data, of 1km x 1km resolution, available with IIT-Delhi via the Centre’s Satellite-Based Application For Air Quality Monitoring and Management at National Scale (SAANS).

From 2017 to 2022 Maharashtra experienced a dip of 7.7% in PM 2.5 levels, according to a report by Climate Trends. In 2019, there was a slight improvement in the pollution levels, but they rose again in 2020 and 2022. The annual average PM 2.5 concentration in urban Maharashtra decreased from 48.7ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) in 2017 to 43.1ug/m3 in 2019, but it increased once more from 2020 onward despite Covid-induced lockdowns, reaching 44.9ug/m3 in 2022.

On one hand, where Maharashtra was worst, Uttar Pradesh was the best-performing state. Uttar Pradesh witnessed a reduction of 37.8% and 38.1% in urban and rural PM2.5 levels, respectively.

"The analysis reflects the progress being made under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) with the majority of states and union territories seeing a dip in their PM 2.5 levels over the last few years," said Aarti Khosla, Director of Climate Trends. 

However, western states like Gujarat and Maharashtra have made little progress and have recently seen a considerable increase in the problem of air pollution. The first NCAP deadline of 2024 is quickly approaching, and in the program's next stage, action must expand outside of cities.

The study proves that for monitoring air pollution in India, making use of remote sensing data, using a method called ‘Aerosol Optical Depth’ is a viable option. In the Aerosol Optical Depth method ground-level monitors are inadequate in number.

The majority of the time, the annual averages produced from the SAANS satellite data and the CPCB's ground monitoring network are similar. The disparity between the two data sets has also decreased as techniques to generate satellite-based PM 2.5 values have evolved, according to the report.

According to SN Tripathi, a member of the steering group for NCAP, "Overall PM2.5 trends based on this analysis show state-level reductions ranging from approximately 7-38%." Any improvements over 10% in this timeframe should be viewed favourably. However, anything below 10% requires evaluation.

According to a comparison across the country, Maharashtra's urban PM 2.5 level decline was the worst of all the states. According to IIT Delhi's satellite data, between 2017 and 2022, PM 2.5 levels decreased by 18.7% in urban areas and 19.1% in rural areas across the nation.


Satellite Data For PM 2.5 Levels In Some Major Cities As Per TOI Report:



CITY

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Chennai

40.9

42.5

37.5

28.8

26.3

28.9

Kolkata

66.4

69.8

62.7

51.1

58.1

53.5

Lucknow

107.7

101.9

89.2

78.3

75.1

57.4

Mumbai

53.6

54.6

51.4

49.7

53.5

53.2

New Delhi

115.7

107.8

100.1

87.4

95.4

90.4

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