Yogi’s Gorakhpur more polluted than Lucknow and Delhi, says report

A report suggests that as per WHO parameters on air quality, entire Uttar Pradesh state is under health emergency. It found smaller cities like Gorakhpur and Mau more polluted than Delhi and Lucknow

Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

A report studying air pollution data in 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh has claimed that the states is under a 'health emergency’, with smaller cities like Gorakhpur and Mau more polluted than Delhi and state capital Lucknow.

The report ‘Air Kills’, compiled by the NGO Climate Agenda, was released in Lucknow on Tuesday. It says that WHO parameters on air quality suggests the entire state is under health emergency. Garbage burning and heavy use of diesel is poisoning the ambient air in UP, the report cautions.

The report was jointly released by  Sandeep Dahiya of Purpose Climate Lab, New Delhi, noted social activist Tahira Hasan, Pramil Dwivedi of Pragya International and Ekta Shekhar, Lead Campaigner of the Climate Agenda.

Ekta Shekhar said that the report is based on comparative study of the status of air pollution from 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh. What is more striking is that air pollution is not limited to urban boundaries only as it has spread to rural areas and smaller cities too, she said.

Gorakhpur and Mau are two important districts in Uttar Pradesh, from which Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Environment Minister Dara Singh Chauhan respectively hail.

The PM 2.5 level measures tiny particulate matter (PM) in the air that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, “30 times finer than a human hair”. At higher levels, PM 2.5 affect people’s health and reduces visibility. As per WHO guidelines, PM 2.5 level should not exceed 25 in 24 hours. As per the report, the PM 2.5 level recorded in Ballia is 348, in Mau 342, in Ghaziabad 280, in Azamgarh 253, Kanpur 240, Varanasi 228, Gorakhpur 225, Sonbhadra 220, Allahabad 216, Mirzapur 214, Agra 210, Lucknow 202, Noida 188, Moradabad 160 and Shamli 150.

“Diesel gensets, uncontrolled construction activities, bumpy and dusty roads, chemical fertilizers, thermal power plants and poor transport system have turned the whole state into a gas chamber,” said Pramil Dwivedi of Pragya International. “The report Air Kills have found places to be more polluted which are not covered under any controlling measures. It is significant to see that districts belonging to our Chief Minister and Environment Minister are also uncovered. This shows that a lot of effort needs to be made, if the state dreams to become clean,” Dwivedi said.

Activist Tahira Hasan said “The report prepared under 100 per cent UP Campaign clearly demands expansion of the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (NAAQM) network throughout the state. At present, this NAAQM network is working only in seven cities of Uttar Pradesh, whereas 90% of the state’s population remains unattended, in terms of rising air pollution. This is highly unjust when the general public is still fighting for its right to breathe clean air.”

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