Mathura, 2018.02.01 (VT) It is now official that Mathura finds a place in one of the top polluted cities of the country in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is the most polluted state. In a recent report, Greenpeace India claims that Uttar Pradesh is India’s most polluted state. 15 cities in Uttar Pradesh have some of the most toxic air in the country.
Varanasi turned out to be the worst polluted city of the state and other towns and cities in UP that scored badly for air toxicity list are Hapur, Bareilly, Firozabad, Kanpur, Agra, NOIDA, and Allahabad. New Delhi topped list of polluted cities in India, while Lucknow was 18th among the 30 most polluted cities and towns in the country.
The entire Mathura District comes under the area designated as the Eco Sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ). There are strict regulations in this zone, which are designed to protect the Taj Mahal from becoming discoloured due to air pollution. Despite the seemingly strict regulations, in actuality, very few steps have been taken to bring down the air pollution level in the TTZ.
Environment protection has never been a priority when it comes to economic development and infrastructure expansion. Politicians talk about making Mathura Vrindavan a smart city and including Mathura in the National Capital Region, but there is very little emphasis on preventing environmental pollution.
The government does not seem to take the air pollution issue seriously as few serious attempts have been made to reduce vehicle emissions, burning of garbage, burning of bio mass and running diesel generators, all of which are major contributors in harming the environment.
Every year, the area gets more polluted because it is quickly losing its tree cover and there is a steady rise in the incidents of garbage due to increased population. The garbage being burnt consists of plastic bags, hospital waste and other toxic items. It is not uncommon to get your nostrils inundated with acrid smoke while walking on the street or have the smell from someone’s garbage fire enter your home. Sewerage management is also very poor. Toxic gases are emitted from the clogged sewer lines and the treatment plants and when sewage tankers come to clear the lines, the streets are often lined with piles of black mud for days.
The National Green Tribunal has given directions to the Municipal Corporation to improve the situation – ban plastic bags, prevent garbage burning and identify a landfill site that can manage municipal solid waste as per the Municipal Solid Waste Rule 2000. Despite the regulations imposed by the tribunal, the Municipal Corporation is not taking the required action -hospital waste can be easily spotted mixed with the municipal solid waste and municipal garbage collectors are often seen burning garbage.
The report brought out the list of most polluted cities in the country based on particulate matter data of PM10 levels for 280 cities during 2016 and in some cases also 2015, covering large parts of the country.
The report – Airpocalypse II – is based on air pollution related data collected from Central and State Pollution Control Boards’ and Committees’ annual reports and their websites and through applications under the Right to Information Act wherever data was unavailable or gaps existed in the available data.
The report reveals that none of the 280 cities with 630 million people comply with the PM10 levels in the air as fixed by WHO at 20. A whopping 80% of these cities also fall short of the generous limit of PM10 levels of 60 set by India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
PM10 is among the most harmful of all air pollutants. When inhaled these large sized particles evade the respiratory system’s natural defenses and lodge deep in the lungs. Although particulate matter can cause health problems for everyone, certain people and children are especially vulnerable to PM10’s adverse health effects.
Different cities of UP suffer from dangerously high levels of PM10 in the air. Among some of the most polluted cities are Varanasi (PM10 level at 236), Ghaziabad (236), Hapur (235), Bareilly (226), Firozabad (223), Kanpur (217), Lucknow (211), Agra (197), NOIDA (195), Moradabad (192), Allahabad (191) and Gajraula (172).
It is estimated that as many as 6.5 million children in Uttar Pradesh are constantly exposed to toxic air.
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