HYDERABAD: Hyderabad’s air, water and soil stand polluted as the concentration of some pollutants— particulate matter in the air or heavy metals and antibiotics in ground and surface water—is higher than maximum level prescribed by the national government agencies.
There are umpteen studies conducted over the years that have highlighted severity of the environmental crisis in the city. However, it is surprising to note that no specific allocation has been done in the State’s budget presented last week towards special initiatives or schemes targeted towards controlling pollution.
One need not dig much into historical data to get an idea of the pollution crisis in Hyderabad. As per the Air Quality Index(AQI) bulletin generated by Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) for 52 cities at 4pm on Thursday, air quality of Hyderabad was worse than any other South Indian city in the list, that included the major cities—Chennai, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam and Vijaywada.
With AQI value of 132, Hyderabad comes under the ‘moderate’ category of air quality. Nationally, on Thursday Hyderabad’s air quality was worse off than 22 other cities on the list, most of which were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Water quality of lakes in Hyderabad has been worse over the years due to dumping of household sewage. If 2016 annual average values of Dissolved Oxygen(DO) recorded in some of the city’s lakes by Telangana State Pollution Control Board(TSPCB) are considered, then technically the lakes are ‘dead’ as the DO values are less than even 1 milligrams/liter(mg/L) or at best between 1-1.5 mg/L whereas minimum of 2mg/L is required for propagation of aquatic life.
Pharmaceutical pollution adds up
Pharmaceutical pollution is another major problem Hyderabad faces as it is home to a large number of pharmaceutical companies. Studies over the years have pointed out how some water bodies in the city have exorbitantly high values of antibiotics. It may be recalled that earlier this year, another report by Swedish firm, Nordea in collaboration with Changing Markets, titled ‘Hyderabad’s Pharmaceutical Pollution Crisis: Heavy metal and solvent contamination at factories in a major Indian drug manufacturing hub’ flagged the serious issue of pharmaceutical pollution.
Meanwhile, various studies point out that the city soil os equally polluted. A study by NGRI found the presence of heavy metals in soil samples collected from Kukatpally, especially arsenic and cadmium that were found to be in concentrations much higher than US Environment Protection Agency(EPA) standards.