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Varanasi sets example in meeting national air quality standards

Varanasi despite being situated in highly polluted Indo-Gangetic plain region of India, has successfully met national standards for PM2.5

By Ground report
New Update
Varanasi sets example in meeting national air quality standards

Varanasi despite being situated in the highly polluted Indo-Gangetic plain region of India, has successfully met the national standards for PM2.5 levels during the winter months of both 2022-23 and 2023-24. This accomplishment highlights Varanasi as a beacon of environmental progress among major Indian cities, standing out as the only city among seven major ones to achieve this feat. Such success underscores a commendable dedication to improving air quality in the city.

A recent study conducted by Climate Trends comparing PM2.5 levels in seven major Indian cities during the winters of 2022-23 and 2023-24 revealed this remarkable success story for Varanasi. While other metropolitan areas like Delhi and Chandigarh experienced an increase in pollution levels, Varanasi emerged as the sole city to meet the national PM2.5 standards during both winters.

This news brings a glimmer of hope in India's battle against air pollution, particularly exacerbated during winter due to factors like temperature fluctuations, stagnant air, and increased emissions from heating sources.

The exact reasons behind Varanasi's improvement remain unclear, prompting experts to call for in-depth analyses to identify specific emission sources that require mitigation. Dr. Atendrapal Singh from the University of Delhi stresses the importance of source determination studies for effective pollution control strategies.

Varanasi's success is significant not only due to its location in the highly polluted Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) region but also because it presents a potential blueprint for other cities grappling with pollution issues, both within and outside the IGP.

While Varanasi shines as a success story, the study also unveils concerning trends in Delhi, where PM2.5 levels during winter have increased compared to the previous year despite pollution control efforts. This underscores the need for revisiting existing policies and potentially implementing stricter regulations.

Moreover, the study highlights a winter pollution paradox observed in cities like Delhi and Chandigarh, where pollution levels were higher in October-December despite lower temperatures compared to January and February. This paradox warrants further exploration through meteorological and climate change studies.

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