There has been a huge increase, of up to around 125 per cent, in NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) in Delhi’s air during the period of the last one year, claimed Greenpeace India, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in its study which analysed NO2 concentrations in India’s eight most populous cities.
As per its reports, between April 2020 and April 2021, NO2 pollution has increased in all the eight capitals of the states studied — Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Lucknow.
The report claimed that the national capital has seen the ‘most dramatic increase’ during the period.
NO2 is a dangerous air pollutant that is released when fuel is burned, as in most motor vehicles, power generation, and industrial processes.
Exposure to NO2 can severely impact people’s health at all ages, affecting the respiratory and circulatory systems and the brain, leading to an increase in hospital admissions and mortality.
“Satellite observations reveal NO2 pollution increased to 125 per cent of April 2020 levels. The analysis suggests the increase would have been even greater (146 per cent) had weather conditions been similar to 2020," read the report.
“Behind the Smokescreen - Satellite data revealed air pollution increase in India’s eight most populous state capitals," it further added.
The report revealed that Mumbai witnessed an increase in NO2 pollution by 52 per cent, Bengaluru by 90 per cent, Hyderabad by 69 per cent, Chennai by 94 per cent, Kolkata by 11 per cent, Jaipur by 47 per cent and Lucknow by 32 per cent in April 2021 as compared to the same month last year.
According to Avinash Chanchal, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace India, the air quality levels in these eight cities are alarming. People are already paying a huge price for our reliance on burning fossil fuels and suggested that it should not continue.
“Motor vehicles and industries based on fossil fuel consumption are the major drivers of NO2 pollution in Indian cities. The governments, local administration and city planners must initiate the transition from privately owned vehicles to an efficient, clean and safe public transport system that is run on clean energy that of course, must provide Covid-19-related safety measures," Chanchal said.