India is the worst country when it comes to Air Pollution as seen per the Environmental Performance Index, which is conducted and written by the environmental research centers at Yale and Columbia universities. As you can see below, the Asian countries are the last five. But the score that India receives is extremely low – far far lower than the preceding countries.
What are the biggest culprits when it comes to Air pollution in India? Two primarily: Carbon monoxide (CO) and the larger particulate matter known as PM10.
Two main areas of pollution for India are: Cars and Industry pollution.
A massive influx of cars, which are being added at an estimated rate of more than 1,000 a day, is an oft-cited reason for the dirty air. But according to data collected by Urbanemissions, a research group that studies air pollution across India, cars account for 25 percent or less of two key pollutants, carbon monoxide and the larger particulate matter known as PM10. Another oft-cited source, open fires used by some poorer residents for heating and cooking, accounts for less than 10 percent of the air’s carbon monoxide and PM10.
Other key polluters, Urbanemissions says, are power plants (Delhi relies on several coal-fired plants for much of its electricity), industries and the dozens of brick kilns that ring the city, supplying bricks for Delhi’s numerous construction projects.
Indian Government and agencies have a rating that itself is flawed and radically downplays the pollution levels.
The government’s label itself is something of a euphemism: for small particulate matter, known as PM 2.5 because they are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller, and larger particles known as PM 10, which are 10 microns or less, an air quality index measure between 301 and 500 would be considered “hazardous” in the United States. It comes with the recommendation that “everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion.”
On Monday afternoon, particulate matter measures at various spots in Delhi ranged between the 500s and 600s, and even higher. At 4:30 p.m. in Noida, a suburb of Delhi, the air quality index for PM 10 was 882.
Since cars account for 25%, the public transportation will help. And even though Metro and public buses are filled to the rim these days, there is still a massive population that uses cars for everything.