Varanasi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in a recent report that monitors air quality in 48 districts across the country declared Varanasi as the worst polluted city in the country. Varanasi has beaten even Delhi with an average air quality index (AQI) of 491 in its suburbs which is regarded as ‘severe’. New Delhi, on the other hand, is at an index of 468.
The report states that PM 2.5 was the major air quality deterioration in Varanasi. PM 2.5 is air pollutant with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less which is small enough to invade through the smallest air ways.
The officials of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that the dust from construction works in Varanasi was the major cause of pollution. UPPCB’s Varanasi Regional Officer Anil Kumar Singh added that Varanasi has no polluting industry around, and it (pollution) is because most of its roads are dug up and drains are being constructed, so there is heavy civil construction going on. This is the reason of high bad AQI value. “Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are all under control,” he added.
In 2016 also, Varanasi was in limelight due to severe levels of pollution. Data for August from UPPCB shows that pollution in Varanasi is up by over 10 per cent compared to August last year.
Apart from Varanasi, the cities topping the CPCB list were: Gurugram (480), Noida (470), Delhi (468), Bhiwadi (463), Lucknow (462), Kanpur (461), Patna (428), Faridabad (428), Muzaffarpur (409), and Agra (404).