Indore is one of the fastest growing cities in India, the commercial capital of MP, cleanest city in the country, the poster child for cleanliness and the ambassador of everything related to “swacchhata”.

Yet for the past week Indore’s air has remained, on an average, in the ‘unhealthy’ category. The air quality index (AQI) has fluctuated between 118 to 358, which fall under the ‘poor’ and ‘severe’ category, respectively.

The cleanest city in the country, fell off the mark last week when it’s AQI shot a shocking 156 units, from 202 to rest at 358 on Wednesday itself. The air quality which already fell under the ‘unhealthy’ category worsened to become ‘severe’. The pollutant PM 2.5 concentration also spiked from 132 to 196 on Wednesday.

Though, the spike lulled on Thursday to rest at 270, Friday at 220 and further to 218 on Saturday, the air still remains in the ‘unhealthy’ category. While the pollutant PM 2.5 concentration also fell to 142 on Thursday, 98 on Friday and went on to rest at 105 on Saturday.

The increase and fall in the quality of air was rapid, yet it was significant enough to make us worried. The city that is on the fast track to development, to becoming a smart city, a city that takes pride in being and called clean, is still breathing air that is six times more polluted than permissible/safe limits. With the increasing standard of living and development, we have traded safer and cleaner environment for more cars and even more construction.

Though, Indore is still better in terms of air quality than cities like Delhi, Kanpur or Gwalior, it’s still high time we woke up and understood the gravity of our situation.

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