Rajasthan’s towns witness alarming increase in air pollution: CSE Study

In a recent analysis by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), air pollution is increasing in the cities of Rajasthan. The analysis reveals a multi-pollutant crisis with rising levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone, among other gaseous pollutants. This deterioration in air quality is not limited to non-target cities but also affects smaller cities and towns in Rajasthan.

Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, CSE said that “Despite the clean air programme, air quality is deteriorating not only in non-target cities but also in smaller cities and towns of Rajasthan. Time-bound improvement in air quality requires statewide action to improve systems and infrastructure in all major sectors of pollution, including industry, vehicles and transportation, clean energy, waste management, construction and greening.

Allocate resources equitably for accelerated measures in key areas with a strong compliance framework to meet the clean air targets.” Avikal Somvanshi, senior program manager at CSE, says expanding air quality monitoring will help better assess this growing risk. The persistently high pollution levels in the city’s stations highlight systemic pollution caused by weak pollution control infrastructure. Meeting clean air standards requires strong and consistent action throughout the year.

The CSE suggests that expanding air quality monitoring can provide better insights into the growing risk of pollution. Analysis of data from air quality monitoring stations in Rajasthan reveals high levels of pollution, indicating a systemic pollution problem due to inadequate pollution control infrastructure. It emphasizes the need for strong, consistent action throughout the year to meet clean air standards.

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The analysis is based on data collected from January 1, 2019, to May 31, 2023, at air quality monitoring stations in Rajasthan. Efforts have been made to expand the monitoring network in the state. As of the first half of 2023, there are a total of 99 operational monitoring stations in 33 cities including Alwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota and Udaipur.

The analysis shows that Jodhpur is the most polluted city in terms of particulate matter with an average PM2.5 level of 71 µg/m3 and a PM10 level of 153 µg/m3. Kota ranks as the second most polluted city, with PM2.5 averaging 55 µg/m3 and PM10 averaging 105 µg/m3. Jaipur ranks third with a PM2.5 level of 52 µg/m3 and a PM10 level of 114 µg/m3. Udaipur and Alwar are also affected by pollution.

The analysis reveals that particulate pollution has increased in Jaipur, Kota and Udaipur, with average levels in 2022 exceeding pre-pandemic levels. PM2.5 and PM10 levels have worsened in these cities compared to 2019. Alwar has shown minimal changes in PM2.5 and PM10 levels in the last four years, while Jodhpur has seen improvements with a 17% decrease in PM2.5 and PM10. 9% in PM10 since 2019.

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In terms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur experienced increasing levels in 2022 compared to 2019. Although NO2 levels in these cities are currently below National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the pollution levels are rising. The number of vehicles on the roads can make the situation even worse. Alwar and Kota have shown stable trends in NO2 pollution.

The analysis also indicates that smaller cities and towns in Rajasthan are experiencing higher levels of particulate matter and NO2 pollution. Recent air quality monitoring in 24 cities and small towns suggests that some of them may have even higher seasonal pollution levels than non-target cities.

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