The Indian government is not quite ready to accept that India is one of the most polluted countries in the world. And to prove this, the country will release its own data on pollution across the world.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed 30 Indian cities among the 100 most polluted in the world. However, environment minister Prakash Javadekar has called the list ”misleading.”
“We will come out with the statistics as people should know the whole picture,” Javadekar told Press Trust of India on May 18. The decision to publish this data is not to counter WHO’s report but to spread awareness, he said.
WHO’s report listed Delhi as the 11th most polluted city in the world. Some of the other Indian cities included in the list are, Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna, Raipur, Ludhiana , Kanpur, and Lucknow.
For its report, WHO studied levels of small and fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) during a five-year period between 2008-13. “PM10 and PM2.5 include pollutants such as sulphate, nitrates, and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and into the cardiovascular system, posing the greatest risks to human health,” WHO said.
However, the Indian minister believes that WHO did not factor in several key pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and benzene in its analysis.
“PM 2.5 is not the only pollutant. There are many cities in the Western countries as well which are suffering. So let citizens (of India) know that pollution problem is all over, in different categories and degrees,” Javadekar said.
“There is ozone pollution, benzene pollution, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide pollution among eight major pollutants. All have adverse impact on health. On each parameter, each pollutant, there are different cities in the world which are bad and good.”