Varanasi, The Only City Met National Standards For PM 2.5 In Winters Of 2023 And 2024 – Indian PSU

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Air quality analysis for seven major cities in India during winter months revealed that Varanasi was the only city that met national standards for PM 2.5 in the winter of 2023 and 2024. The city made progress despite being part of the Indo Gangetic Plains (IGP) region, which is the most polluted in India. These seven cities include- Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Patna.

Despite focused attention on the national capital, PM 2.5 levels in Delhi saw an increase in air pollution in the winter months of 2023-2024 compared to the previous year.

During the winter period (October-February), the months of January and February see lower pollution levels across the cities (except Chandigarh) than in October to December despite lower temperatures. This could result from other meteorological factors like wind speeds and fewer sources like crop burning in some states in north India.

In the winter of 2023-24, there was much uproar over Mumbai’s poor air quality days, but data shows that PM 2.5 levels in the city were lower this winter vis-a-vis 2022-2023.

An in-depth analysis is required to understand the improved levels in some cities so that similar measures can be implemented in other cities too.

In the comparative analysis of winter PM2.5 pollution levels across major Indian cities, Varanasi emerged as the sole city meeting national standards for both 2022-23 and 2023-24, while Mumbai also demonstrated pollution levels below the national standard in 2023-24; however, Delhi consistently exhibited the highest pollution levels, followed by Chandigarh, with Patna showing comparatively higher concentrations attributed possibly to industrial emissions and vehicular traffic. Delhi experienced a notable increase in winter pollution levels compared to the preceding year. Other cities experienced lower PM2.5 levels during the recent winter.

Based on the daily average PM2.5 concentration data for winter in Delhi spanning from October 1st, 2022, to February 28th, 2024, the following points are noted :

● The PM2.5 concentration in Delhi exhibits significant fluctuations over time, with values ranging from relatively low (9.46) to very high (405.24) levels.

● The data suggests that certain months experience consistently higher or lower PM2.5 levels than others, possibly influenced by monthly factors or external events.

● Despite fluctuations, there seems to be a general increasing trend in PM2.5 concentration over the observed period, especially noticeable in the later months.

Based on the daily average PM2.5 concentration data for Varanasi spanning from October 1st, 2022, to February 28th, 2024, the following points are noted :

● The PM2.5 concentration in Varanasi exhibits significant fluctuations over time, with values ranging from relatively low (5.62) to very high (121.61) levels.

● The data suggests that the trend is not consistent.

● Despite fluctuations, there seems to be a general increasing trend in PM2.5 concentration over the observed period.

Based on the daily average PM2.5 concentration data for Lucknow spanning from October 1st, 2022, to February 28th, 2024, the following points are noted :

● The PM2.5 concentration in Lucknow exhibits significant fluctuations over time, with values ranging from relatively low (9.43) to very high (148.8) levels.

● The data suggests that the trend is not consistent.

● Most of the day’s pollution level exceeded the national standard.

The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy



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