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Economic development has affected air quality in Indian cities: Survey

NEW DELHI: India's economic developmenthas led to worsening of air quality in majorIndian cities, according to a new study published here today. 

The survey was carried out by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in six major cities Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, 
Kolkata and Mumbai. 

The transport sector was ranked the highest followed by factories in and around the city as the second highest contributor towards air pollution in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. 

While respondents from Bangalore rated factories as the highest contributor of air pollution followed by transport, those in Hyderabad rated construction activities in the city as the worst offender followed by the transport sector. 

The 'TERI Environmental Survey 2013' was conducted with a sample size of 4,039 respondents. Six themes were selected for the study -- overall environment, air quality, water quality, forest/green cover, climate change, and waste and waste management. 

"Air quality for the respondents in the six cities over time has either become worse or has seen no change. In terms of drinking water quality and availability, there is a perception that it has improved in all cities barring Hyderabad, where the respondents felt it has worsened," the survey says. 

"Rapid urbanisation has resulted in environmental degradation caused by increased pressures on the limited land available, leading to reduced open spaces, increased air and water pollution, and problems of waste disposal and its management. Various climate related changes pose additional stresses," it says. 

The study says surface water quality is seen to have worsened in all cities except Mumbai. 

"Five cities have seen worsening of ground water availability (excluding Chennai) and tree and forest cover (excluding Mumbai), and all six cities have seen a decline in the number and species of birds and animals," it says. 

Respondents from Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad have seen deterioration of waste and waste management in their city, while respondents from Kolkata and Mumbai have seen an improvement. 

"Our purpose is to see that issues related to 
environment and development get embedded in the consciousness of the people," Director General of TERI, R K Pachauri said, while releasing the key findings. 

Ligia Noronha, Executive Director, 
TERI said, "In order to bring about any improvements in environmental quality in metros, we need to align different interest groups - civil society, government, business."