Air Quality Analysis for Prayagraj (Allahabad), India

Summary of PM2.5 Pollution and Meteorology Forecast for Today at the state-level (more resources here)

Delhi Air Quality Forecasts

Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh sits at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers – and was accordingly re-christened Prayagraj (prayag meaning confluence) in 2019. It is one of the populous cities in the state and was ranked worst among the state cities for air quality in 2017.

Emissions Inventory GridAllahabad has been an administrative center dating back to the British rule, an educational center with a number of universities in the district, and a religious center. The city hosted 120 million visitors for the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Yamuna river in 2019 and is scheduled to host the next one in 2025. The state and the central governments are promoting the festival with a significant budget of Rs. 2500 crore.

To assess Allahabad’s air quality, we selected an airshed of 40km x30km. This domain is further segregated into 1km grids, to study the spatial variations in the emission and the pollution loads.

Meteorology fields are important as they have a direct impact on air pollution concentrations. During periods of high precipitation or high speed winds, emissions from a city are swept away and do not have an impact on concentrations. On the other hand, during the winter months when temperatures and inversion heights are low, there is a greater impact of emissions on pollution concentrations. Low temperatures also affect behaviour through the need for space and water heating – which in turn has increases emissions.

We processed the NCEP Reanalysis global meteorological fields from 2010 to 2018 through the 3D-WRF meteorological model. A summary of the data for one year, averaged for the city’s airshed is presented below by month. Download the processed data which includes information on year, month, day, hour, precipitation (mm/hour), mixing height (m), temperature (C), wind speed (m/sec), and wind direction (degrees) – key parameters which determine the intensity of dispersion of emissions.

WRF Meteorology for Allahabad

Multi-Pollutant Emission Inventory

We compiled an emissions inventory for the Allahabad region for the following pollutants – sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), carbon dioxide (CO2); and particulate matter (PM) in four bins (a) coarse PM with size fraction between 2.5 and 10 μm (b) fine PM with size fraction less than 2.5 μm (c) black carbon (BC) and (d) organic carbon (OC), for year 2015 and projected to 2030. In Phase 1, base year for all the calculations was 2015. In Phase 2, all the calculations are updated for year 2018.

Emissions Inventory We customized the SIM-air family of tools to fit the base information collated from disparate sources. Apart from the official reports, resource material ranges from GIS databases of land use, land cover, roads and rail lines, water bodies, built up area (represented in the adjacent figure), commercial activities (such as hotels, hospitals, kiosks, restaurants, malls, cinema complexes, traffic intersections, worship points, industrial hubs, and telecom towers), to population density and meteorology at the finest spatial resolution possible (1-km). A detailed description of these resources is published as a journal article in 2019, which also includes a summary of baselines and pollution analysis for 20 Indian cities.

This emissions inventory is based on available local activity and fuel consumption estimates for the selected urban airshed (represented in the grid above). This information is collated from multiple agencies ranging from the central pollution control board, state pollution control board, census bureau, national sample survey office, ministry of road transport and highways, annual survey of industries, central electrical authority, ministry of heavy industries, and municipal waste management, and publications from academic and non-governmental institutions.

For the road transport emissions inventory, besides the total number of vehicles and their usage information, we also utilized vehicle speed information to spatially and temporally allocate the estimated emissions to the respective grids. This is a product of google maps services. For the city of Allahabad, we extracted the speed information for representative routes across the city for multiple days. This data is summarized below for a quick look.

Emissions Inventory Click here for gridded anime
Vehicle Speed Maps in a City

The areas of Naini and Phulpur in Allahabad house most of the industries in the airshed. There are more than 10,000 unregistered small scale industries according to the All India Census for Small Scale Industries. Other industries in the area include approximately 300 fixed chimney brick kilns, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Bharat Pumps and Compressors, Reliance Industries, Raymond Synthetics, Triveni Sheet Glass and Electroplast, Steel Authority of India, HCL Technologies and Indian Oil Corporation among others.

Emission Sources in Allahabad Emission Sources in Allahabad
Emission Sources in Allahabad Emission Sources in Allahabad

The summary for a city’s emissions inventory does not include natural emission sources (like dust storms, lightning, and seasalt) and seasonal open (agricultural and forest) fires. However, these are included in the overall chemical transport modeling in the national scale simulations. These emission sources are accounted in the concentration calculation as an external (also known as boundary or long-range) contribution to the city’s air quality.

Projections to 2030 under the business as usual scenario are influenced by the city’s social, economic, landuse, urban, and industrial layout and hence the projected (increasing and decreasing) rates that we assume are an estimate only. We based the vehicle growth rate on the sales projection numbers; industrial growth on the gross domestic product of the state; domestic sector, construction activities, brick demand, diesel usage in the generator sets, and open waste burning on population growth rates and notes from the municipalities on plans to implement waste management programs. We used these estimates to evaluate the trend in the total emissions and their likely impact on ambient PM2.5 concentrations through 2030.

The emissions inventory was then spatially segregated at a 0.01° grid resolution in longitude and latitude (equivalent of 1 km) to create a spatial map of emissions for each pollutant (PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NOx, CO and VOCs). The gridded PM2.5 emissions and the total (shares by sector) emissions are presented below.

Gridded PM2.5 Emissions (2018 and 2030)

Emissions Inventory Emissions Inventory

Total PM2.5 Emissions by Sector 2018-2030

Emissions Inventory Emissions Inventory Emissions Inventory

TRANS = transport emissions from road, rail, aviation, and shipping (for coastal cities); RESIDEN = residential emissions from cooking, heating, and lighting activities; INDUS = industrial emissions from small, medium, and heavy industries (including power generation); ALL.DUST = dust emissions from road re-suspension and construction activities; W.BURN = open waste burning emissions; DG.SETS = diesel generator set emissions; B.KILNS = brick kiln emissions (not included in the industrial emissions)

Total Estimated Emissions by Sector for 2018 (units – tons/year)

Transport emissions from road, rail, aviation, and shipping (for coastal cities) 2,850 3,000 900 1,000 13,150 129,300 39,100 150
Residential emissions from cooking, heating, and lighting activities 2,800 2,900 450 1,300 350 30,550 3,750 250
Industrial emissions from small, medium, and heavy industries (including power generation) 1,900 1,900 550250 12,750 5,350 16,600 9,600
Dust emissions from road re-suspension and construction activities 2,900 18,350 ------
Open waste burning emissions85090050500- 4,150 850-
Diesel generator set emissions700750350200 4,750 15,150 6,850 100
Brick kiln emissions (not included in the industrial emissions) 4,000 4,050 1,100 1,500 3,600 47,450 5,750 1,350
16,000 31,850 3,400 4,750 34,600 231,950 72,900 11,450

Chemical Transport Modeling

We calculated the ambient PM2.5 concentrations and the source contributions, using gridded emissions inventory, 3D meteorological data (from WRF), and the CAMx regional chemical transport model. The model simulates concentrations at 0.01° grid resolution and sector contributions for the urban area, which include contributions from primary emissions, secondary sources via chemical reactions, and long range transport via boundary conditions (represented as “boundary” in the pie graph below).

Emissions Inventory

The ribbon graph shows the variation for average PM2.5 pollution by month. Due to precipitation during the monsoon, usually pollution levels dip and may fall within national air pollution standards, however most cities are unable to attain these standards at other times of the year.

The following is a map of annual average PM2.5 pollution for the city of Allahabad. The main sources contributing towards PM2.5 in 2018 are in the pie-chart on the left. The change in contributions in 2030 from different sources are shown on the right.

Allahabad PM2.5 Source Contributions Allahabad Ambient PM2.5 Concentrations Allahabad PM2.5 Source Contributions

There is a temporal variation in source contributions and spatial contributions depending on meteorological factors. We have a map of monthly average PM2.5 levels as well as their source contributions for every month in the charts below.

Allahabad PM2.5 Monthly Concentrations Allahabad PM2.5 Source Apportionment

Satellite Data Derived Surface PM2.5 Concentrations

The results of satellite data derived concentrations are useful for evaluating annual trends in pollution levels and are not a proxy for on-ground monitoring networks. This data is estimated using satellite feeds and global chemical transport models. Satellites are not measuring one location all the time, instead, a combination of satellites provide a cache of measurements that are interpreted using global chemical transport models (GEOS-Chem) to represent the vertical mix of pollution and estimate ground-based concentrations with the help of previous ground-based measurements. The global transport models rely on gridded emission estimates for multiple sectors to establish a relationship with satellite observations over multiple years. These databases were also used to study the global burden of disease, which estimated air pollution as the top 10 causes of premature mortality and morbidity in India. A summary of PM2.5 concentrations for the period of 1998 to 2016 for the city of Allahabad is presented below. The global PM2.5 files are available for download and further analysis @ Dalhousie University.

The graphs for other district PM2.5 concentrations for this period, maps of national averages, and year-wise changes are available here. The data for district level PM2.5 concentrations for 1998-2016 period for can downloaded here.


We present below a summary of the ambient monitoring data available under the National Ambient Monitoring Program (NAMP), operated and maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB, New Delhi, India). In Allahabad, there is 1 continuous air monitoring station (CAMS) reporting data for all the criteria pollutants and 6 manual stations reporting data on PM10, SO2, and NO2. An archive of all the data from the NAMP network from stations across India for the period of 2011-2015 is available here.

PM2.5 Source Contributions Ambient PM2.5 Concentrations PM2.5 Source Contributions

Resource Material

  • CPCB repository of continuous air monitoring data (Link)
  • Uttar Pradesh state pollution control board (Link)
  • Uttar Pradesh state industrial development authority (Link)
  • Uttar Pradesh state district and tahsil maps (Link)
  • Allahabad municipal corporation (Link)
  • Allahabad urban development authority – Master plan (Link)
  • Allahabad smart city program proposal (Link)
  • Allahabad city transport service Ltd. (Link)
  • Allahabad solar city master plan with MNRE (Link)
  • Allahabad comprehensive mobility plan (2012) (Link)
  • Ban on entry of heavy vehicles in the city from January 1st 2019 (Article)

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