Hidden air pollutants rising in Indian cities like Delhi and Kanpur, study finds

Publish on May 02, 2021     Source: WION

A new study sheds light on the prevalence of pollutants in Indian cities. According to the British study published in the journal called “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics”, hidden air pollutants are increasing in Indian cities.

These pollutants include fine particles known as PM2.5 along with nitrogen dioxide which are both hazardous to health. Scientists used data from satellites to scan the skies of cities everyday. They found that air pollutants are rapidly spreading in Indian cities like Kanpur and Delhi.

The trends of pollution between 2005-2018 were taken into account by the researchers, who hailed from the University of Birmingham and UCL, including a team of contributors from Belgium, India, the UK, and Jamaica.

Delhi already grapples with pollution every year as winter sets in the city, with a thick layer of smog covering the city sky year after year. In 2018, the World Health Organization had ranked Kanpur as the world’s most polluted city. According to researchers, the increase in PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide levels in the country may be attributed to increasing vehicle ownership, industrialisation and the limited number of air pollution policies.

In addition, the scientists also found that the air pollutant formaldehyde was spotted in Delhi and Kanpur, along with London. The researchers juxtaposed data from Indian cities with the data of cities in the United Kingdom.

"We wanted to demonstrate the utility of satellite observations to monitor city-wide air pollution in the UK where ground-based measurements are in abundance and in India where they are not. Our approach will be able to provide useful information about air quality trends in cities with limited surface monitoring capabilities. This is critical as the WHO estimates that outdoor air pollution causes 4.2 million deaths a year”, Karan Vohra, study lead author and PhD student at the University of Birmingham was quoted by ANI as saying.

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