Hyderabad pollution levels rose 7% after Unlock 6.0
Hyderabad was the second-most polluted city after Visakhapatnam.
HYDERABAD: The nationwide Unlock 6.0 in November 2020 that gave respite to various activities and allowed them to resume with certain riders was welcomed by all sections of the society. However, as a safety measure against Covid-19 spread, public transport and several companies were not functioning at their 100 per cent capacity in the city. Even then, the city’s winter pollution levels worsened by 7 per cent, revealed a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The report added that among the Southern states, Hyderabad was the second-most polluted city after Visakhapatnam. The study was based on real-time data available from 115 cities across the country. It noted that in South India, winter air pollution in regional cities of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala has increased from the winter of 2019.
Good air means that the Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 levels should be below 30 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3 ). PM 2.5 are tiny particles in the air and are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. The national 24-hour permissible level for PM 2.5 is 60 μg/m3. According to the report, Hyderabad recorded a whopping peak winter PM 2.5 level of 92 μg/m3. This was 48 per cent more than the winter of 2019.
“Peak pollution is very harmful especially for the people suffering from respiratory illness,” Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager at CSE’s Urban Lab team of the Sustainable Cities programme, told Express.There were two reasons behind the rise in pollution during the winter in the city, the report revealed. When the unlocking started, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) had shown more leniency towards industries, which are emit a lot of pollutants.
The second factor is that since most public transports were shut, more people started using private transport, resulting in more cars and bikes on plying the road than before and adding to the pollution. “We had anticipated less air pollution during this year’s winter, however, the data shows something else. The city recorded a 7 per cent increase in its average PM 2.5 levels,” added Avikal.
Air quality remains below satisfactory levels
Though winter is over, the air pollution in the city continues to remain below satisfactory levels. On March 3, the air quality index (AQI)recorded at the seven monitoring stations in the city has been in moderate category at 132. The AQI at the Zoo Park was 148.