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During Modi Government’s First Full Calendar Year in Power,
India Had Most Polluted Year in Its Existence





India just had its most polluted year on record, Greenpeace India says in a new report, for the first time pushing it above China in terms of the average amount of pollution its citizens were exposed to.

The non-governmental organization said it analysed particulate levels measured by satellites belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") using a method it said was the best way to compare pollution exposure.

The use of fossil fuels in India and China has driven a dramatic rise in pollution in the two countries since 2005, the report said.

However, from 2011 to 2015, China’s efforts to reduce pollution paid off, while India’s smog intensified. China had its worst year, pollution-wise in 2011 and since then has improved, Greenpeace India analysts said.

The report said pollution levels are highest in the north of India adding that West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh had the largest increases in pollutants.

It criticized India’s monitoring of pollution, saying the satellite data show not all of the country’s highly-polluted cities had air-quality monitoring stations. The report pointed out that India has 39 air-quality monitoring stations, compared with 1,500 in China.

China introduced an action plan to reduce pollution in 2013. As a result its PM 2.5 levels, particles in the air including dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets that can penetrate the lungs, reduced 17% from 2010 to 2015.

India’s increased by 13% in the same period, according to the Greenpeace India analysis.

Greenpeace India said it used the monthly Aerosol Optical Depth measurements from the NASA MODIS Aqua satellite. The organization said the data give a picture of regional average levels and were useful in countries that don’t have a regional monitoring network.

In April, the government froze bank accounts belonging to Greenpeace India and suspended the environmental group’s foreign funding license. It said that the group underreported its foreign funding. Greenpeace India denied that it had broken the national foreign-funding law.

In November, Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India. Later the same month, The Madras High Court stayed the order canceling the registration, Greenpeace India said.

[Courtesy: The Wall Street Journal. Aditi Malhotra contributed to this post.]

February 24, 2016

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India Had Most Polluted Year in Its Existence "

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