In a surprising turn, Greater Noida, part of Yogi Adityanath’s vision for transforming Uttar Pradesh, has taken center stage as a concerning pollution hotspot, overshadowing even the notorious pollution levels in Delhi. The city, once considered a poster boy for UP’s progress, is grappling with deteriorating air quality, challenging the conventional narrative that Delhi holds the sole benchmark for polluted air in India.
In the first half of November, Greater Noida has consistently surpassed Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) levels on seven occasions, reaching a peak of 494 on November 3, while Delhi recorded 468. This places Greater Noida among the most polluted cities in the country, marking a shift in the pollution narrative. Residents are now facing the harsh reality of declining air quality, with slogans like “Tumhe clean air bhul jaani padegi, Delhi-NCR mein aakar toh dekho” reflecting the shared sentiment among the locals.
Greater Noida’s emergence as a pollution heavyweight is attributed to rapid development, numerous construction projects contributing to high pollution levels, and a recent ban on construction activities for 15 days. However, challenges persist, exacerbated by the bursting of crackers during Diwali, aggravating an already complex situation.
Regional Officer Dev Kumar Gupta, from the UP Pollution Control Board in Greater Noida, acknowledges the city’s developmental challenges and the role of construction projects in the pollution surge. The authorities are grappling with the aftermath, implementing measures such as a construction ban and employing strategies like smog machines and water sprinklers to address the rising pollution levels.
As Greater Noida grapples with its newfound status as a pollution hotspot, local initiatives, including special radio programs and media coverage, aim to raise awareness and encourage collective efforts to combat the environmental crisis. Residents, however, are pointing fingers at neighboring regions, notably Delhi and Punjab, echoing the interconnected nature of the air pollution challenge in the National Capital Region.