Air quality in holy city of Varanasi ‘most toxic in India’
Levels of airborne pollution across north Indian plains routinely higher than in the capital, Delhi, researchers warn
Michael Safi in Delhi
Monday 12 December 2016 09.33 GMT
Air quality in the Indian holy city of Varanasi is “the most toxic in the country” according to research that reveals the extent of the pollution crisis across northern India.
There has been a growing awareness of the dangers of the smog that envelopes Delhi in the winter months, but a report released on Monday by three environmental groups highlights the extent of the problem across the north Indian plains, where levels of harmful airborne particles are routinely higher than in the capital.
According to 2015 data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Varanasi and Allahabad, both located in India’s largest and most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, did not record a single day of “good” air quality in the more than 220 days that measurements were taken.
“Good” air indicates an Air Quality Index score below 50. Anything above 100 – “moderate” – is considered to be dangerous for children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions.