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|3||Shivaji Nagar, Maharashtra|
|4||Karol Bagh, Delhi|
|5||Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu|
|7||Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu|
|8||Kattivakkam, Tamil Nadu|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 112* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Vijayawada is currently 8 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
| Sensitive groups should wear a mask outdoors|
GET A MASK
| Run an air purifier|
GET AN AIR PURIFIER
| Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
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| Everyone should reduce outdoor exercise|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 112 US AQI
|Tuesday, Feb 14|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 106 US AQI
|Wednesday, Feb 15|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 112 US AQI
|Thursday, Feb 16|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 121 US AQI
|Friday, Feb 17|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
|Saturday, Feb 18|
Moderate 99 US AQI
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Vijayawada is a city located in Andhra Pradesh, one of 28 different states found across India. It is also known by the name of Bezewada, and is home to over 1 million inhabitants, from a census taken in 2011 and thus a number that will have grown exponentially since then. It finds itself situated in the very center of Andhra Pradesh, and is considered as the educational and commercial heart of the state. It is home to a large amount of higher education facilities, as well as housing many significant temples and holy sites, thus making it a visiting ground for countless numbers of pilgrims and tourists throughout the year. It has predictions to be amongst the top fastest growing cities in India, and this factor, along with the already large population and high amount of industrial sites, has a detrimental effect on the quality of the air for a number of reasons that will be discussed in short.
In early 2021, Vijayawada was seen with PM2.5 readings up to 54.2 μg/m³, a high reading that would place it into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This is demonstrative that Vijayawada’s air quality nearly broke out of this group rating and up into the next pollution bracket (the ‘unhealthy’ group bracket), and whilst there were readings that fell slightly lower, a majority of its air pollution readings were above 45 μg/m³, showing that the city has some fairly serious pollution issues that need addressing.
As with many cities across India, Vijayawada is subject to a wide array of different polluting sources, many of which are compounded further by meteorological conditions, typically with the arrival of colder weather which causes a massive spike in pollution due to anthropogenic activities, namely the excessive burning of firewood and other similar materials, as well as increased demand on power plants to provide energy to homes and businesses, which in turn causes them to burn more coal and release vast amounts of their own noxious chemicals and hazardous particulate matter.
Some of the main prominent causes are vehicular emissions, with cars, motorbikes and tuk tuk’s all populating the road and putting out large amounts of different pollutants. To compound this, many of these vehicles would be old and past their best years, causing problems due to the engines poor condition making it leak oil vapors and put out far more dangerous particles than a newer counterpart would. Other issues include construction sites and the subsequent dust and fine particulate matters (PM2.5 and PM10) that they give off, far greater amounts than many people are conscious of.
Poorly maintained construction areas, road repairs or even demolition sites can cause huge amounts of hazardous dust, fine silica or concrete particles to make their way into the air and cause a host of issues to those that are exposed. Other causes of pollution in the city are ones such as the open burning of trash or refuse, the burning of firewood, as well as factory and power plant emissions.
Some of the main pollutants found in the air in Vijayawada would be largely related to the combustion of certain materials, as well as particulate matter leaked from both vehicles as well as the aforementioned construction sites. The main ones released from vehicles would be sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), both of which can contribute to instances of acid rain, the formation of ozone (O3), as well as being a general irritant to the lung tissues and respiratory tract, causing damage and also triggering off preexisting conditions such as asthma.
Ozone, or smog as it is better known as when it accumulates in large amounts, is formed by the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the air when they are exposed to excess amounts of sunlight, or solar radiation. This can lead to mass buildups on the roads during the summer months, causing dangerous accumulations of ozone, which whilst it is a vital component of the upper atmosphere, is a dangerous pollutant when found on ground level. Others include the previously mentioned finely ground dust particles (soil, concrete, silica, as well as black carbon), many of which can be carcinogenic when inhaled.
There would be no members of the population that are truly immune from the effects of pollution, with even the healthiest members of Vijayawada’s society being subject to the adverse and highly damaging effects of pollution if they happen to suffer from over exposure. There does however exist a few different groups of people that are even more at risk to the damaging effects of air pollution. These include people such as young children, who are at risk for developing lifelong conditions such as allergies, respiratory conditions as well as even physical or mental stunting due to the highly damaging effects of excessive pollution exposure.
Others include the elderly, who due to certain physical frailties amongst individuals, may suffer grave consequences when pollution related respiratory ailments present themselves. Lastly, those who have compromised immune systems, as well as preexisting health conditions, particularly of the cardiac or pulmonary variety, would also be at an elevated risk for adverse health effects occurring.
With a rapidly growing population coupled with increased infrastructure and vehicle ownership, the city of Vijayawada would be hard pressed to get its pollution levels under control. However, due to the prominence of this topic in recent times, as well as general government acknowledgment of how detrimental and costly the effects can be on the general population, there are a number of initiatives that can be utilized (and have already been started) that can help in the fight against polluted air.
One of these would be the introduction of stricter road rules, particularly when it comes to the age and level of pollution that individual vehicles give off. Offending sources such as heavily aged vehicles that put out large amounts of pollution can be removed from the road, thus putting a dent into vehicle based pollution. Others would be the introduction of emission caps to both factories, businesses and power plants. If unsafe levels of pollution emissions are exceeded, then threats of closure or heavy fines can be imposed, both of which are strong incentives to get businesses and individuals to comply with pollution reduction strategies and play their part in helping to reduce Vijayawada’s air pollution levels.