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Delhi more polluted than Beijing: Indian watchdog
January 29, 2014, 5:06 pm

Traffic policemen monitor traffic in front of the Presidential Palace enveloped by a blanket of smog in New Delhi [AP]

Traffic policemen monitor traffic in front of the Presidential Palace enveloped by a blanket of smog in New Delhi [AP]

Dangerous levels of air pollution in New Delhi has beaten the smog-filled skies of Beijing, show new environmental indicators according to a new study by New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The study says “assessment of the available air quality data for Delhi and Beijing and the review of air pollution control measures in the two capital cities shows that Delhi is losing the race very fast – it is already more polluted than the Chinese capital”.

The report says while PM10 levels in Beijing have decreased by about 40 per cent from 2000 to 2013, in New Delhi it has increased by about 47 per cent from 2000 to 2011. PM10 levels in Delhi are nearly double that of Beijing.

“Delhi seems to lack Beijing’s scale, stringency and frenetic pace of action. After years of consistent and aggressive efforts Beijing has evidence to show improvement in its air quality. But Delhi has lost its air quality gains,” says the report.

In India, automakers sold 2.7 million passenger vehicles in 2013. Delhi alone adds over 1400 new vehicles every day, half of them diesel-fuelled.

Researchers belonging to the Indian watchdog CSE noted that the Chinese Communist government had taken a number of measures to battle pollution, including fixing “the number of cars that can be sold in one year in the city to 240000”, adopting an air quality index and a health alert system to inform and warn people, making local governments liable to pay a fine if air pollution levels hit critical rank among others.

China now aims to reduce total vehicle fuel consumption by five per cent or more compared to 2012.

In December, local governments in eight cities in the northeast Liaoning Province received fines of $8.9 million for failing to check the smog and haze resulting from pollution that has choked Chinese citizens.

In contrast, the study says although New Delhi has adopted the Euro IV emissions standards and mandated all buses and three-wheelers and a part of taxis to run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), “stringency, scale and enforcement remain weak”.

Data for this study by CSE was provided by the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and India’s Central Pollution Control Board.

A similar study released earlier this month by the US-based Yale University said that Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.