DEHRADUN has ranked 31st in the recently released list of most polluted cities of the world. Although the city’s rankings have improved (it was on the 29th slot last year), town planners, civic officials and NGOs say that much more needs to be done to minimize pollution in the Doon valley, which is increasingly facing health hazards due to rapid pollution.
Elaborating on the reasons for this ranking, Mayor Vinod Chamoli told TOI, “Global warming has become a worldwide phenomenon now and with the increasing population as well as vehicles, this was bound to happen. Another factor which features majorly is uncontrolled and unplanned development because of which we have lost out on a lot of greenery which has had an overall negative impact on our environment.”
The list released by WHO on May 12 is based on how much fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) they have in the air and Dehradun’s PM count is beyond 100. These pollutants pose health risks like eye, nose, throat and lung irritation. Also they can elevate the risk for lung and heart ailments over long period of exposure. These small particles are typically found in exhaust fumes from cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles, though they can also come from natural sources such as forest and grass fires.
In the recent list of the most polluted cities there are 10 Indian cities which feature in the top 20 and the data on which this ranking is based was majorly collected between the years 2012 to 2014.
Raj Kanwar, member of Citizens Action Group (CAG) and a resident of Doon for last 70 years blames loss of greenery for this ranking, “Even a couple of decades ago, Dehradun supported an endearing ambience and a lush green facade. Greenery in fact was its badge of honour. Refreshing clean air caressed us. Today, it has become one of the most polluted cities. Some of the worst polluting vehicles such like vikrams, trucks, buses and even tractors ply its roads. There is really no remedy for the fast growing pollution menace.”