THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The capital city has hit a new low when it comes to air quality. The air quality index (AQI) stands at 113, with the air quality of Thiruvananthapuram being recorded as ‘moderate’ on Tuesday. Surprisingly, the capital city fared worst when compared to the other South Indian cities, all of which recorded a ‘satisfactory’ air quality, on the day of Diwali.
As per the AQI bulletin by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the state capital has ‘moderate’ AQI while other major south Indian cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai have ‘satisfactory’ index. The bulletin provides the AQI in major cities as on November 6 at 4 pm, based on the average of the past 24 hours. The air quality level is recorded in six categories - good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor and severe. The AQI for Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai stands at 87, 83 and 64 and the capital city has surpassed these big metros.
The health impacts of ‘moderate’ air quality involve ‘breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases’. The alarming statistics in the city points fingers at the air quality deteriorating and faring further below big metros during the Diwali fiesta this year. The data based on a monitoring station in the city states PM2.5 as the prominent pollutant. PM2.5 indicates atmospheric particulate matter which has a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers and is considered.
Meanwhile, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has been monitoring the air quality and will be doing so for 14 days, to asses the air quality in the backdrop of Diwali. Based on the Apex Court’s order, the air quality seven days before and after Diwali is being monitored.
“A consolidated data will be available after 14 days and only then can we comment about the air quality,” says K Sajeevan, Chairman, KSPCB. “The air quality in the capital city is being monitored for 14 days based on the directive by CPCB. In other districts also, the air quality is being observed,” says S Sreekala, Chief Environmental Engineer, KSPCB.
John Panicker, national co-ordinator, National Initiative for Safe Sound says that a decreasing trend is being seen in the intensity of bursting of crackers and that the apex court’s ruling has helped a long way in arresting the noise pollution that the city becomes a witness to. But he says that there is still a long way to go.
“The dangers of bursting the crackers are manifold. The air pollution is immense, with heavy metals such as Cadmium, Aluminium, Barium , Bismuth being present in the cracker fumes. The health hazards it can induce is scientifically proven,” says Dr John Panicker.
“The dust particles will stay in the air for three weeks and when they subside, it settles into our water bodies and the ground. It is highly dangerous. Further, those who are most affected are children and the senior citizens. Not to mention the noise pollution that accompanies it. A large number of people seek medical help including injuries in eye post such festivities,” he adds.