Kerala's air quality index within ‘satisfactory’ level

It goes beyond ‘very unhealthy’ on rare occasions; AQI reading at Vyttila in Kochi ‘unhealthy for the sensitive group’ from mid-Jan to June

Published: 05th January 2022 06:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th January 2022 06:25 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: When compared to the air quality index (AQI) of New Delhi, the districts in the state fare better. As per the report presented by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), on verifying the data obtained from the real-time air quality monitoring stations, it can be concluded that the air quality averages within the “satisfactory” level. 

“It goes beyond ‘very unhealthy’ on very rare occasions,” said M A Baiju, chief engineer, Pollution Control Board, Ernakulam. According to him, most of the stations in the country’s capital are showing alarming levels of air pollution. “It can be seen that the AQI levels within the state are also showing a slight increase from the middle of December. This might be due to the seasonal changes as the rainy season has a significant effect on the reduction of AQI,” he added.

There are six AQI categories -- good (0-50), moderate (50-100), unhealthy for sensitive groups (100-150), unhealthy (150-200), very unhealthy (200-300) and hazardous (300-500). According to the chief engineer, the study was carried out from January to December 2021 at the nine Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) in the state. “Ashok Vihar in Delhi was selected on a random basis for comparison,” he said. 

According to him, after the commencement of the second lockdown on May 8, 2021, a considerable reduction of AQI was noticed at all stations from the ‘moderate’ range to ‘good’. “This scenario was seen to continue till November 2021 except for Plamoodu in Thiruvananthapuram. The AQI there showed an increasing trend from August 26, 2021, to September 6, 2021. The peak concentration read was 320 (very unhealthy or hazardous) on September 1, 2021,” said Baiju.

The other place that showed an increase in AQI was Vyttila in Ernakulam. “The AQI here showed an increasing trend from May to June. The peak concentration read was 198 (unhealthy) on June 5, 2021. Here, it is important to see that at almost all stations, the average AQI was above 150 (unhealthy) for the period from mid-January to mid-February 2021,” said the chief engineer. 

Though the concentration averaged 100-150 up to April 2021 in Kollam, it showed a uniform AQI range of 100 for the rest of the days except for May-June when the reading averaged 50 (good). “It is pertinent to note that AQI reading at Vyttila station showed a reading above 100 (unhealthy for the sensitive group) from middle January to the end of June 2021 and MG Road around 100 till March but came down to around 50 (good) until the middle of December when it averaged “very unhealthy”. It is significant to note that Eloor, a major industrial hub of Kerala, showed an AQI of around 50 (good) on almost all days except for some days when again the average concentration showed only 62,” said Baiju.


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