Skip to main content

Modi's Varanasi most toxic city of India, has zero good air days: Govt of India's top pollution watchdog

By Our Representative
India’s top environmental watchdog, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has found Varanasi to be the most toxic city of the country. Notorious for water pollution because of the Ganga river, Varanasi is known to be the most polluted stretch in the country. However, how the CPCB has now found that of the 227 days for which it measured air quality, the holy city recorded zero good air days.
Quoted in a just-released report, titled “Varanasi Chokes! Particulate Matter Trends and Increasing Respiratory Ailments”, prepared by IndiaSpend, a data analysis site, the CPCB has found that the only other city which has zero good air days is also in Uttar Pradesh – Allahabad.
In order to provide a comparison, the CPCB provides data for other Uttar Pradesh cities. Thus, Agra has 17 per cent good air days (28 out of 165 days monitored); Kanpur 12 per cent (85 out of 730 days); Ghaziabad four per cent (five out of 127 days); and Lucknow three per cent (15 out of 566 days).
A city which sent Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Lok Sabha in the 2014 polls, the IndiaSpend report says, ever since, Varanasi has drawn “the maximum funds ever for the Ganga Action Plan … with a promise of 3 billion US dollars to clean up the river in a span of five years.”
The report further says, “One of the key sources of pollution in the river has been identified as the release of large amounts of sewage and a range of industrial effluents. Over 400 tanneries and industries are known to be operating close to the river and most of them release their effluents directly into Ganga.”
Yet, the report suggests, the high level of air pollution was ignored, even though it was identified in 2009, when the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a nationwide index to help identify critically polluted zones across the country.
“The Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) identified 43 critically polluted zones by taking into account the pollution levels in air, water and soil. Uttar Pradesh has six out of 43 polluted zones in the country – Singrauli, Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Agra and Varanasi”, the report notes.
Global pollution: Top 20 cities. WHO did not include Varanasi
IndiaSpend further recalls that in 2012, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi report on aerosols formation stated that “the entire Indo-Gangetic belt is prone to high levels of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur which in turn are responsible for increased levels of particulate matter in the air.”
Particulate matter, says the report, results in increased air pollution levels and is one of the key components responsible for asthma, chronic lung diseases and even heart diseases, with its impact being felt on the vulnerable sections of the population – children and the elderly.
It underlines, “The other important aspect with respect to air pollution that many tend to ignore is the role of coal fired power plants, worsening air quality. The Purvanchal region of the state has close to 11 coal-fired thermal power plants, producing close to 12,000MW of energy.”
It adds, “Studies done by a Delhi-based group, UrbanEmissions, has identified that the changing wind patterns in the Indo-Gangetic region especially during the winter time tend to carry the emissions from the power plants to several hundred kilometers depending on the speed of the wind, leading to an exponential spike in the regional pollution levels.” 
Interestingly, this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed of 20 most polluted cities in the world, 10 of them from India. Four of these ten are from UP – Allahabad, Kanpur, Firozabad and Lucknow. Varanasi is not on the WHO’s list; yet, CPCB has found the Prime Minister’s constituency has having India’s worst air quality.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.