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Now, data from #Breathe IndiaSpend‘s network of air-quality sensors–reveal that Patna’s air quality over the last month was five times above the air quality guidelines recommended by WHO. Data from our sensors recorded between 13 May and 14 June, 2016 revealed “very poor” air quality 28% of the time, meaning that possible health impacts were respiratory illness at prolonged exposure. Over the same period and time, Delhi’s PM 2.5 levels were twice above the same WHO guidelines. Patna has risen in the WHO rankings, from second in 2015 to sixth in 2016. This does not mean the city’s air improved, according to CEED analysts.
Over 29 days, IndiaSpend‘s four sensors recorded “good” air quality in Patna only 18 times, all late at night or early morning. “Good” implies an air quality index (AQI) reading below 50. The AQI is a composite measure of various pollutants.
“The high level of particulate matter concentration is adversely affecting the people in the city,” said thisreport from the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), an advocacy that partneredIndiaSpend and analysed Patna’s data. “The chief causes of the rampant deterioration of the air quality in the city are population growth, traditional cooking practices, power plants, dirty brick-making practices, industries, solid waste burning, increased vehicle use and construction activities in Patna.”
“While the new ranking is indicative of an improvement, it cannot be entirely trusted as the current listing is based on data from the year 2013, which is similar to the last listing of WHO (May 2014),” said the CEED report. “The ranking thus, are quite deceptive.” “Bihar has witnessed a double digit growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate in last five years,” the CEED report said. “However, this growth has come with a heavy price. The city’s environment has suffered majorly in terms of its air quality, making Patna one of the most polluted cities in the country and across the globe.”