Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh, which is about 270 km from the state capital Shimla, has the cleanest air in the country, says a recent study by the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D).
According to the study, PM 2.5 (particulate matter) level in Kinnaur was found to be 3.7+-1 microgram per cubic metre annually, which is less than 10% of the national air quality target of 40g/m.. On the other hand, India’s capital Delhi has PM 2.5 levels of 148+-51 microgram per cubic metre, thus making it the most air-polluted city in the country, as reported by Times of India.
PM 2.5 is harmful microscopic particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.
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While short term exposure to PM 2.5 can cause allergies or bronchitis, chronic exposure can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even lung cancer, which can eventually lead to premature deaths.
The district administration of Kinnaur has taken up several environment protection initiatives to keep air and water pollution in check.
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The district had already banned the use of bottled mineral water in official meetings and functions, and an innovative solid waste management project is also being implemented.
“The construction of toilets is a major focus area and 30% of the remaining panchayats would soon be made open defecation-free,” Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Naresh Kumar Lath told IANS.