Kanpur Current Affairs - 2020

Kanpur is world’s most polluted city: Guinness World Records 2020

The city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh held the title for the world’s most polluted city in the latest edition of Guinness World Records. The book, ‘Guinness World Records 2020’, lists thousands of new record titles and holders that will educate curious readers of all age groups. It is released annually by publisher Penguin Random House. This year, about 80 record breaking achievements by Indians that have made it to latest edition of book.

Kanpur: The Most Polluted City in the World

A report by World Health Organization (WHO) analyzed that the most polluted city in the world is Kanpur in northern India, with an average PM2.5 level of 173 micrograms/m3 for the year 2016. This PM2.5 level is more than 17 times higher than WHO recommended maximum of 10 micrograms/m3.

What is PM2.5?

 It refers to atmospheric particulate matter(PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (i.e. nearly 3% diameter of a human hair). The PM2.5 are very small particles like dust, soot and ash and the prolonged exposure of it can cause cancer, lung and heart conditions.

Cause of PM2.5 pollution: Some PM2.5 particles are emitted directly from a source, like construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires while most particles form in atmosphere as a result of complex chemical reactions like SO2 and NO2, which are pollutants emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles.

NOTE: Out of the world’s 20 most PM2.5-polluted cities, 14 are in India.

Indian Cities and Air Pollution

The Air Pollution levels at the Indian cities are at an alarming level. Various Reports have time and again tried to shed light on the quantum of the problem.

Air Pollution and Indian Cities

  • A Delhi based Environment Body claims that the Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, is ranked third on the WHO’s list of 15 most polluted cities and the situation is “deteriorating” as its MP has focused on beautification and infrastructure.
  • In the ‘Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019’ report, released by Climate Trends Delhi is ranked sixth on the list. The report states that there has been “laziness” on part of its elected caretakers in tackling air pollution in the city.
  • As per the World Health Organisation, (WHO) list of most polluted cities, 14 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world are in India of which four are in Uttar Pradesh.
  • WHO report states that the Prime Minister’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a rise in the number of people suffering from allergies and respiratory problems due to a “lot” of construction in the city.
  • Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh is the most polluted city in the world. Kanpur is ranked one on the list. Faridabad in Haryana has been ranked second and Varanasi has been ranked third.
  • Gaya and Patna in Bihar are fourth and fifth on the list.
  • Delhi has been ranked sixth and Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow is ranked seventh.
  • The report by climate trends claimed MPs of Lucknow and Kanpur — Home Minister Rajnath Singh and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi respectively — have mostly been silent on the issue of air pollution in their respective constituencies.
  • Other cities in the WHO list of polluted cities are Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur.

Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”, as per pollution control authorities.