Guwahati Leads as Most Polluted City in Assam, Posing Health Risks with High Black Carbon Emissions.
The vision of clear blue skies and fresh air in this region is under threat due to persistent air pollution in Assam and neighbouring northeastern states, as cautioned by the Centre for Science and Environment based in Delhi.
Five cities in Assam, including Guwahati, Nagaon, Silchar, Sivasagar, and Nalbari, labelled as non-attainment cities by the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme, exceed recommended pollution levels. The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is underway to create action plans, targeting a 20-30% reduction in fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) within a specified timeframe.
IIT Guwahati’s Air & Noise Research Lab, led by Prof. Sharad Gokhale, revealed through research by scholar Rajarshi Sharma that 60% of black carbon emissions stem from fossil fuel burning in various sources like transportation, industries, and residential kerosene lamps for lighting.
Rising air pollution in the northeastern hills and valleys, driven by increased motorization, traffic congestion, and solid fuel use, poses a public health crisis. Despite a gradual deterioration in air quality, there’s minimal public awareness. Guwahati’s winter air pollution rivals some Uttar Pradesh cities, with even smaller cities experiencing significant pollution levels.
Ongoing construction in and around Guwahati is causing a temporary rise in PM10 levels. Once construction, like a flyover, is completed, smoother traffic flow is expected, reducing congestion and leading to long-term lower pollutant levels.