New Delhi: Every third city that failed to meet national air quality standards in India--where most people die of air pollution than any other nation--was in two of the country’s biggest states, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, in five years to 2015, according to government data.

With 17 of 94 cities, Maharashtra had the highest number of cities identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as failing to meet national air-quality standards over five years to 2015, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for environment, on April 6, 2018.

Maharashtra was followed by Uttar Pradesh (15), Punjab (8) and Himachal Pradesh (7). Half of the 94 cities were in these four states.

Cities Failing Air-Quality Standards, 2011-15
State State Count Cities
Maharashtra 17 Akola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Badlapur, Chandrapur, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Sangli, Solapur, Ulhasnagar
UP 15 Agra, Allahabad, Anpara, Bareily, Firozabad, Gajraula, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Kanpur, Khurja, Lucknow, Muradabad, Noida, Raebareli, Varanasi
Punjab 8 Dera Bassi, Gobindgarh, Jalandhar, Khanna, Ludhiana, Naya Nangal, Pathankot/Dera Baba, Patiala
HP 7 Baddi, Damtal, Kala Amb, Nalagarh, Paonta Sahib, Parwanoo, Sunder Nagar
Odisha 6 Angul, Balasore, Bhubneshwar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Talcher
AP 5 Guntur, Kurnool, Nellore, Vijaywada, Visakhapatnam
Assam 5 Guwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sibsagar, Silchar
MP 5 Bhopal, Dewas, Indore, Sagar, Ujjain
Rajasthan 5 Alwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur
Karnataka 4 Bengaluru, Devanagere, Gulburga, Hubli-Dharwad
Telangana 3 Hyderabad, Nalgonda, Patencheru
Chhattisgarh 2 Bhillai, Korba
Nagaland 2 Dimapur, Kohima
Uttarakhand 2 Kashipur, Rishikesh
Chandigarh 1 Chandigarh
Delhi 1 Delhi
Gujarat 1 Surat
J&K 1 Jammu
Jharkhand 1 Dhanbad
Meghalaya 1 Byrnihat
TN 1 Tuticorin
West Bengal 1 Kolkata
Total cities 94

Source: Lok Sabha

In 2015, 2.5 million of 10.3 million deaths in India due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were linked to pollution, according to a global study, IndiaSpend reported on January 3, 2018.

Rising air pollution in cities is increasing incidences of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, diabetes and other pollution-related ailments, said the study, which noted that 27% of Indians died of causes related to air pollution, exceeding the proportion who died similarly in China.

Low- and middle-income groups are the worst affected by pollution; 92% of deaths due to pollution occurred in that income group, IndiaSpend reported on November 14, 2017.

Technically called “non-attainment cities”, the 94 cities were identified as part of the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme, under which 683 operating stations in 300 cities/towns across the country monitor sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, respirable suspended particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for a day twice a week.

(Vivek is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

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