Govt to Lok Sabha, Health News, ET HealthWorld

No established mechanism to rank cities on pollution: Govt to Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The government on Monday said there is no established mechanism for ranking cities in terms of pollution and that the satellite data used for the purpose by private institutions and universities is not validated by proper ground truthing. Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey said this in the Lok Sabha in response to a question by Congress MP Jyotsna Charandas Mahant.

“There is no established mechanism for ranking cities in terms of pollution. It also requires authentic data and proper peer review.

“The government is aware that several private institutions and universities are ranking cities adopting different methodologies, different datasets and using different weightages to parameters. The data used for ranking is extracted primarily from satellite imagery, which is not validated by proper ground truthing,” the minister said.

On July 18, the government had told the Lok Sabha that there is no linear relationship between air pollution and life expectancy as assumed in the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) published by The Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago (EPIC).

It had also said there is no conclusive data available to establish a direct correlation of death exclusively due to air pollution.

The AQLI annual update report released by EPIC in June said air pollution is the greatest threat to human health in India and the average Indian resident is set to lose five years of life expectancy if the new World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline is not met.

According to the new WHO guideline issued last year, the average annual PM 2.5 concentrations should be no higher than five micrograms per cubic metre. It was 10 micrograms per cubic metre earlier.

In June, the Union environment ministry rejected the Environmental Performance Index 2022, which ranked India at the bottom of a list of 180 countries, saying some of the indicators it used are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods.

The index published by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, used 40 performance indicators across 11 categories to judge countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

“The Environmental Performance Index 2022 has many indicators based on unfounded assumptions. Some of these indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods,” the ministry had said in a statement.

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