According to several experts, Kolkata Air Pollution Level has overtaken New Delhi and the city could be well on its way to becoming the new pollution capital of India even as the Air Quality Index dipped to ‘severe’. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), air quality in Kolkata air quality has been suffering a lot. While the Delhi air quality index stood around 449 and its overall air quality has been slotted in the ‘severe’ category, both cities seem to be competing for the dubious distinction.
This is not surprising. Kolkata air pollution level has surpassed Delhi as both cities gasp for clean air. However, each of them has different contributory factors which push their air pollution level. While Delhi is suffering from air pollution in winters due to the burning of agricultural waste, the major factor contributing to Kolkata Air Pollution Level is auto emission. This is evident in the observation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) made in November 2018 to the Bengal government.
“The Green belt is poor through the day since mid-December. University campus at around 3 pm on 4 January 2019, passed 500 mg per cubic meter as per safe limit of 60 mg per cubic meter,” says Sumendra Mohan Ghosh, the award winning environment scientist as well as a green techie.
Currently, there are only 2 automatic air quality-monitoring machines in the city of Kolkata: there is one in Rabindra Bharati University Campus and one in the green zone of Victoria Memorial. The AQI level of 201 to 300 is considered as ‘poor’. It slowly turns very poor and comes within 301-400 and 401-500 level, and then termed severe. In a green belt such as Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, the PM 2.5 level of pollutant is equal to that in the Delhi commercial zone. The Kolkata air pollution level has only been worsening of late which has led the state transport department to issue a notification. There are no alternatives to diesel in Kolkata. On the other hand, public transport in Delhi has been running on the CNG for some time now.
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