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Delhi Air Pollution Not Higher Than Beijing

Update Date: Jan 31, 2014 09:00 AM EST

The head of environment measurement index has denied previous media reports that suggested the air quality in the Indian capital, Delhi, to be worse than China's capital, Beijing, BBC is reporting. 

The Environmental Preference Index did not have comparative data - a vital factor for ranking cities, said Dr Angel Hsu who presides the entity. 

However, it did rank the countries and among 178 countries, India was at 174 and China at 176. 

The Environmental Preference Index is prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities. 

"The EPI does not rank cities, nor do the data in the EPI provide any information on city-level performance," said Dr Hsu of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy who is also the project director of the index, according to BBC

He pointed that the lack of accurate data from India was the obstacle. 

"Beijing reports [pollution] data on an hourly basis over a publicly accessible platform. Delhi's reporting is not as consistent or transparent, making direct comparison impossible. Delhi may or may not have dirtier air than Beijing, but it is clearly behind in how it makes air quality information available to its citizens," Dr Hsu added.

"Our pollution levels do not need to get worse than Beijing's for us to wake up and take action. Delhi's air is bad, very bad, and it's getting worse by the year," Dr Sarath Guttikunda, director of Delhi-based Urban Emissions Info warned according to BBC.

Dr Gufran Beig, chief scientist at India's System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research also refused resonating with the report. He said the average concentration of smaller dust particles (PM2.5) - that penetrates deep directly into the lung - was 210 microgram per cubic metre (m/cum) in Delhi this month. According to him, its is not even half of Beijing's PM2.5 level that was recorded this year. 

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