BHOPAL: Gwalior continues to be among dirtiest cities of the country in terms of air pollution with fresh reports indicating city having more than three times the acceptable particulate matter levels in air. "There is no change in pollution level. It's still three times more than safety level recommended by WHO," said an officer of pollution control board wishing anonymity. "There are hundreds of old vehicles on road, many of them are 15 to 20 years old. Unless these vehicles are pushed off roads, pollution level won't go down," he said. 

Earlier in 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) study reported Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur were among top four cities of the world with dirtiest air. WHO study of 1,600 cities across 91 countries found air pollution has worsened since 2011, especially in poor countries, putting city-dwellers at higher? risk of cancer, stroke and ?heart disease. "Air quality in most cities (including Gwalior) worldwide that monitor outdoor (ambient) air pollution fails to meet WHO guidelines for safe levels, putting people at additional risk of respiratory disease and other health problems," states WHO report. Only 12% of people living in cities that report air quality comply with WHO guideline levels. 

Delhi had an annual average of 153 micrograms of small particulates, known as PM2.5 (fine particulate matter with 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter) per cubic metre. In most cities like Gwalior, where there is enough data of previous years available it can be said that air pollution has worsened. Many factors contribute to this increase, including reliance on fossil fuels such as coal-fired power plants, dependence on private motor vehicles for transport, inefficient use of energy in buildings, and use of biomass for cooking and heating. 

In Gwalior, some officers blame it on vehicular pollution. Gwalior's rising air pollution is also being heard at National Green Tribunal (NGT), Bhopal bench. Authorities of the state transport department had submitted a detailed report to the NGT. Madhya Pradesh high court had taken serious note of WHO report following PIL filed by social activist and lawyer Awadesh Pratap Singh Bhadauria. State and central pollution control boards were asked to submit explanation on "Why Gwalior is among one of the top four polluted cities of the world". 

Bhadauria claimed local administration has felled hundreds of trees in the name of development but have not carried out any compensatory plantation. 2013-14 data of the state's pollution control board substantiates WHO's report. Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, which monitored vehicles across the state, found Gwalior leading other cities in MP with 23% diesel and 6.9% petrol vehicles emitting pollutants above permissible limits. 

Source: Times of India (Dated 05 Jun 2015)