Pune News | Worsening Air Quality: Pune City and District Lead Maharashtra in Fine Dust Particle Levels


Pune: Pune News | The air quality in Pune city and the surrounding rural areas of Maharashtra has witnessed a significant decline over the past six years, with an alarming increase in the concentration of fine particulate matter. The issue of harmful dust particles that pose a threat to respiratory health is not limited to urban areas alone; even rural regions have experienced a surge in dust particle levels. This calls for the implementation of air pollution control measures not only in cities but also in rural areas to combat this growing problem. According to a survey conducted by Climate Trends, Maharashtra ranks among the states in India with alarming levels of fine particulate matter, with Pune city and district being particularly affected.

To tackle air pollution in various cities across the country, the Central Pollution Control Board launched the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) a few years ago. Under this program, 131 cities were selected with a target to achieve a 20 percent reduction in air pollution by 2024. Climate Trends conducted a study examining the current situation of both urban and rural areas, focusing on the concentration of fine dust particles over the past six years (2017-2022). The study utilized data from the Indian Institute of Technology’s SAANS project and the Global Human Settlement Layer for classification of urban and rural areas.


Following the announcement of the National Clean Air Program, the municipal corporations of the selected cities submitted plans to the Pollution Control Board for proposed and implemented measures, with dedicated funds allocated for this purpose. As a result, there has been a reduction in the levels of fine dust particles (particulate matter 2.5 and PM 10) in both urban and rural areas over the past six years. The study revealed an average reduction of 19.1 percent in rural areas and 18.7 percent in urban areas. However, the concentration of fine dust particles remained at similar levels in both settings. Compared to other states, Maharashtra exhibited alarming levels of fine particulate matter.


The Central Pollution Control Board sets a limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter for fine particulate matter concentration. However, last year, levels exceeding this limit were recorded in urban and rural areas across the country, including states in the Himalayan range. The high concentration of fine dust particles has led to various health issues among the Indian population, highlighting the urgent need for improved air quality.


The survey findings revealed that certain states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, and Bihar, which have implemented effective measures under the National Clean Air Program, have witnessed a significant reduction in fine particulate matter over the past six years. Maharashtra and Gujarat also demonstrated some improvement, although to a lesser extent. However, non-urban states experienced an increase in fine particulate matter, emphasizing the importance of sustained efforts to combat pollution in both urban and rural areas. It is crucial for the authorities to expand their focus beyond cities and address pollution concerns in rural villages as well.


Several factors contribute to the rising pollution levels in rural areas, including increased use of kitchen stoves, smoke from wood-burning, soil erosion due to deforestation, and burning of garbage in public spaces. These sources must be effectively managed through awareness campaigns, behavioral changes, and appropriate policies to mitigate air pollution in rural regions.


It is imperative that the administration takes comprehensive steps to combat air pollution, considering both urban and rural areas in their future strategies.



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