|10||New Delhi, Delhi|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 108* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Rajkot is currently 7.6 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 108 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 10|
Moderate 99 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 11|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 105 US AQI
|Monday, Dec 12|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 108 US AQI
|Tuesday, Dec 13|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 104 US AQI
|Wednesday, Dec 14|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 107 US AQI
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Rajkot is a city located in the Indian state of Gujarat, being the fourth largest city behind other major ones such as Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara. It has a prominent economy based around real estate, and a variety of different industries typically based around furthering the urban infrastructure of the city, with the end goal of creating a heavily modernized and attractive city on the agenda. Rajkot is counted as the 22nd fastest growing city worldwide, as of mid-2019. With a population of over 1.8 million inhabitants, Rajkot will subsequently be exposed to some pollutive issues, and although it has been touted as one of the cleaner cities in India, there are still some less than perfect levels of pollution present, although it must be noted that they are significantly lower than some of the other cities throughout India.
In early 2021, Rajkot was recording PM2.5 readings of numbers going up as high as 28.2 μg/m³, a reading that would place Rajkot into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. Whilst there were readings that went as low as 16.1 μg/m³ in close proximity, it still stands to reason that a majority of its PM2.5 readings were at 20 μg/m³ or above, making it deserving of its moderate pollution rating. With further improvements, Rajkot could lower its air pollution levels even more so and attain an even more appreciable ranking.
As is common across many cities in India, the sources of pollution remain fairly similar in their nature, with the same offending causes being present throughout nearly every city, with a few location based differences sometimes occurring that can vastly skew the pollution level (such as heavy farmlands that utilize crop burning methods causing massive pollution spikes in nearby cities).
One of the more prominent causes of air pollution in Rajkot would be vehicular emissions. This pertains to cars, motorbikes and rickshaws or tuk tuk’s, all of which would be found on the road in massive numbers at any given time. Besides naturally putting out large amounts of noxious pollutants, many of these vehicles would have particularly aged engines and motors, a highly negative aspect that occurs in many cities or countries that have less stringent road rules, although this is slowly changing in more recent time. Heavily aged vehicles can leak far more oil vapors and hazardous particulate matter than a cleaner or newer model would, and to compound the situation further, larger vehicles such as trucks or lorries that run on diesel fuels would also be found in high numbers across the roads and highways of Rajkot.
Other prominent sources of pollution in city include ones such as emissions from areas such as factories, power plants and other related industrial zones. Construction sites, road repairs, building demolitions and even the open burning of waste are all contributing factors, although on a significantly less prominent level than other cities throughout India, indicative of Rajkot’s cleaner air quality.
Several initiatives are currently being introduced in the city in order to reduce pollution levels, with varying degrees of success. These include ones such as incentivizing people to make the change from using their own personal vehicles, and to move over to using public transport as their primary way of moving around the city. This is something that is still in the works, and so far, has only managed to draw a limited number of an extremely massive population away from their own vehicles.
Other actions that can be taken are the removal of ancient vehicles off of the road, which is slowly being initiated but will take many years to fully implement, due to the high number of these motors on the road and the concentrated and prolonged effort it takes to catch and remove them. Others include the placing of emission caps on factories and other polluting areas, which if broken can result in fines being levied, or even threats of closure to be imposed. This would be a powerful incentive to get certain businesses to comply with clean emissions standards, and would thus be something that would have a prominent effect on reducing pollution levels in the future.
With a large variety of chemical pollutants being released from various sources, there are no members of society that are truly safe from the harmful and damaging effects that pollution can have on one’s health. However, there are certain groups that fall into an even more vulnerable bracket, due to a number of reasons. Some members of this at risk group would be ones such as young children, who have the chance to develop skin rashes, allergies, respiratory issues such as asthma attacks, as well as changes or stunting of their physical growth or mental development due to excessive exposure to harmful chemicals in the air.
Others include the elderly population, who can be particularly vulnerable to respiratory distress that is often brought on from the excessive respiration of pollution and particulate matter. Those with compromised immune systems due to illness or congenital conditions, as well as those with preexisting health conditions are also very much at risk, along with pregnant mothers, who can suffer from wide ranging disastrous effects to their baby’s health and possibly life if pollution exposure is not limited.
With much of its pollution arising from various combustion sources such as vehicle or factory emissions, as well as fine particle producing sites or areas, there would be a number of related pollutant types in the air in Rajkot. Relating to vehicles, the main pollutants that would be found would be ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), as well as the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and ground level ozone (O3).
Ozone, commonly referred to as smog when it accumulates in large enough amounts on the ground level, is formed when the various oxides of nitrogen get exposed to solar radiation via sunlight (which Rajkot has in excess), and thus get converted to ozone. Whilst this is a vital component of the upper atmosphere, when on the ground level, it can cause a myriad of health issues such as dry coughs, chest pain and infections, as well as damage to the lung and airway tissue. These are a few of the pollutants that would typically arise from combustion sites and vehicles throughout Rajkot, with other pollutants such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) also being found in the air.