KOCHI: Even a week after Deepavali, as Delhi struggles to go back to normal with regard to air quality index which still hovers near the extremely dangerous category, Kochi has made a sharp recovery. The particulate matter level has come down to moderate levels in the city. However, with the manner in which the pollution level is increasing, it might not be far when Kochi becomes another Delhi. Most recently, during Diwali, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded high in Kochi. Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) was closely monitoring the situation following Supreme Court intervention to control air pollution on Deepavali day.
The AQI data released by KSPCB reveals that the highest AQI average reported in Kerala was at the Continous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station installed at Vytilla on Deepavali day. KSPCB has installed Continous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station at Palayam, Eloor, MG Road Kochi, Vytilla and Plamood in Thiruvananthapuram. Average AQI reported in Vytilla on Deepavali day was 154.77. Similarly, at MG Road, the AQI average was 149.58.
The numbers were very high despite Deepavali being celebrated only in limited pockets of the city.
KSPCB officials claimed that the pollution level was recorded high in MG Road due to a power failure at the monitoring station. Similarly, at Vytilla the ongoing construction work also spiked the pollution level. “The pollution index in MG Road was reported high due to a technical issue with the monitoring station. There was a power failure and the devices didn’t read the right level of pollution. We will be installing the power back up system so that such an issue doesn’t develop in future. As far as Vytilla is concerned, the AQI is high due to the ongoing construction work of the flyover and the Metro Rail,” said KSPCB Ernakulam regional chief environmental engineer M A Baiju.
In Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram average AQI was 85.72 on Tuesday. At Plamoodu, Thiruvananthapuram average AQI was 83.65. Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 up to 60 and PM 10 up to 100 is considered as a normal level. AQI PM10 recorded at Vytilla was 134.19 and AQI PM 2.5 was 175.35 on Deepavali day. Same at MG Road on Tuesday was 112.47 and 186.69. At Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram AQI PM 10 was 85.83 and AQI PM 2.5 was 85.62. At the Eloor monitoring station, the pollution was reported way less than recorded in other parts of the state.
Controlling air pollution
Due to ongoing construction of the Metro project and flyovers, the KSPCB has asked authorities to frequently sprinkle water to counter dust menace. Once the rain ceased, the PM level in Kochi will continue to remain high till May. “We have recommended sprinkling water to settle the dust at the Vytilla and MG Road stretch where construction works are continuing. Commuters find it difficult to travel through Vytilla, due to dust, when construction work is carried out,” said a KSPCB officer.
Air quality index
KSPCB has installed Continous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station at Palayam, Eloor, MG Road Kochi, Vytilla and Plamood in Thiruvananthapuram. Average AQI reported in Vytilla on Deepavali day was 154.77. Similarly, at MG Road, the AQI average was 149.58.