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Air Pollution Rankings: Guwahati’s Position Debunked

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Guwahati, known as the virtual capital of northeast India, has recently found itself in the midst of controversy regarding its air quality. Reports surfaced claiming that Guwahati ranked second globally in terms of air pollution, trailing only Begusarai in Bihar. However, a closer examination reveals discrepancies in these assertions.

According to a purported ranking by the Swiss air quality monitoring organization, IQAir, Guwahati was deemed the second most polluted city worldwide in the ‘World Air Quality Report 2023’. This report highlighted a significant increase in air pollution levels across various Indian cities, with Begusarai topping the list. Guwahati saw a notable rise in its PM 2.5 concentration, doubling from 51 to 105.4 micrograms per cubic meter between 2022 and 2023.

Questions have been raised regarding the credibility of IQAir and its authority in determining global air quality rankings. According to a media report, founded in 1963, IQAir is a Swiss environmental technology company specializing in air purifiers and air quality monitoring products. IQAir’s methodology and independence have come under scrutiny, particularly regarding its revenue transparency and ownership structure.

The dissemination of these rankings sparked concern among Guwahati residents, prompting the Pollution Control Board of Assam (PCBA) to issue an official statement. The PCBA clarified that the reported air quality index for Guwahati, based on IQAir’s data, was misleading. They emphasized that Guwahati’s PM 2.5 concentration, while elevated, remained within acceptable limits and did not warrant alarm.

Dr. Shantanu Kr Dutta, member secretary of the PCBA, reiterated that the agency continuously monitors Guwahati’s ambient air quality using sophisticated monitoring stations located across the city. These stations collect real-time data, which is then corroborated by the Central Pollution Control Board.

In conclusion, while concerns about air pollution in Guwahati are valid, the recent rankings portraying it as the second most polluted city globally require careful scrutiny. Collaborative efforts between government agencies and independent organizations are essential to accurately assess and address air quality challenges in the region.

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