WHO quotes Govt data to place Srinagar as tenth most polluted city, Govt says no such data shared

Satellite Image of Kashmir valley in winters when air quality has been found to be worrisome.

World Health Organisation (WHO) quoting Government data placed Srinagar as the world’s tenth most polluted city. Srinagar has been listed as the tenth most polluted city in the world in terms of air quality (PM 2.5 levels) in WHO’s Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board (J&KSPCB) however, on Friday, refuted the placement quoting government data, saying that no such data has been shared with the WHO.

“J&K SPCB has rebutted the report published by the WHO by making it clear that no such data has been forwarded to the WHO. J&K SPCB further states that the monitoring of PM 2.5 which is a key pollution indicator has been started by the Board in July 2017 only whereas the WHO study quotes the period from 2010 to 2016,” said a spokesman, in a statement today.

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Reports quoting from a study of the World Health Organisation (WHO) had claimed that Srinagar was the tenth most polluted city in the world per its air quality index with PM 2.5 depicted as 113 µg/m3.

“It is pertinent to mention that the source of primary data on which the WHO has based its report has been quoted as the ‘respective governments’,” said the spokesman.

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“The Board applies a very robust sampling methodology and intensity including establishment of five permanent air quality monitoring stations in Srinagar city viz. Rajbagh, Hyderpora, Boulevard, Jahangir Chowk and Soura, wherein data is collected twice a week throughout the year. As per the Board, the levels of PM 2.5 are well within the permissible limit of 60 µg/m3 (for 24 hours),” he said.

In March, a study jointly conducted by a team of scientists from Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and University of Kashmir, had found that the air quality deteriorates significantly during the winters in the city, known as one of the world’s major tourist destination and also for its pristine environment.

The study had revealed that pollution in Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – hits dangerous levels during winter months as the air carries five times more tiny particulate matter than the permissible limit, with the experts terming it a worrying development

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