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|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 158* US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Dhanbad is currently 13.6 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy 158 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 117 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 124 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 138 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Unhealthy 155 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 137 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Moderate 99 AQI US
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Dhanbad is a city located in the Indian state of Jharkhand, being the second most populous city of the state as well as 33rd largest out of all Indian cities. It is considered as one of the top 100 fastest growing cities in the country, and has a prominent presence in the coal industry, being known as ‘the coal capital of India’. It earns this name for good reason, having one of the largest coal mines in the entire country located within the city limits, and besides the coal industry, has also experienced a large amount of growth in the IT sector. With a population of over 1.16 million inhabitants (with census data having been last taken in 2011 and will thus have grown significantly since then) as well as a growing economy coupled with widespread increases in infrastructure and urbanization, Dhanbad will be subject to some less than perfect levels of air quality.
In early 2021, Dhanbad came in with PM2.5 readings going as high as 89.3 μg/m³, a sizeable reading that would place it into the ‘unhealthy’ pollution ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. As the name implies, this represents a dangerous level of air pollution present in Dhanbad, and as such the city is subject to some high levels of pollution and could do much to improve upon its current readings.
There are many different causes of pollution occurring within Dhanbad, with much of its industry and presence as a major exporter of coal and coal related products (as well as using it within the many factories and power plants throughout the city) assisting in producing these less than appreciable levels of air pollution. One of the most persistent causes of pollution present in the city, which will be addressed first, is that of vehicular related pollution and emissions. Vehicle exhaust and fumes account for huge amounts of the year round ambient pollution readings, with countless numbers of cars, motorbikes and other small vehicles such as tuk tuk’s all inhabiting the roads.
To make matters worse, many of these vehicles are extremely run down, using aged and low quality engines that put out far more noxious oil vapors and chemical fumes than a newer or cleaner counterpart would. In order to transport the large amounts of coal (as well as other industrial goods), heavier vehicles such as lorries and trucks would also be in use, which besides running on diesel fuel, put out particularly large amounts of fine particulate matter and other forms of pollution, due to their great size and weight. Other prominent causes of pollution in Dhanbad include large amounts of road dust, fires from the open burning of waste or organic material, more finely ground dust from construction sites and road repairs, as well as factory and power plant emissions.
With PM2.5 readings going well up into the unhealthy rating brackets and beyond, there would be a vast amount of adverse health issues associated with breathing the smoke, haze and dust clouds present in Dhanbad. Of note is that any reading of pollution over the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less has the chance of causing negative health effects, and naturally as the PM2.5 count grows higher, so too does the severity of illnesses and their chance of occurring.
Some prominent health issues would be ones such as dry coughs, chest pains, as well as nausea or vomiting. Changes to the nervous system may occur, with many systems throughout the body being affected, depending on the type of pollutant an individual is exposed to and at what quantity (as well as length of exposure). Respiratory problems such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma may also present themselves, along with rapid aging and scarring of the lung tissue, and inflammation of the entire respiratory tract.
Instances of cardiac problems also become apparent, with cases of ischemic heart disease, angina, arrythmias and increased rates of heart attack all having heightened chances of occurring. These are a few of the many health issues that may present themselves to those who suffer from pollution exposure within Dhanbad.
As much of its industry revolves around the mining, transportation and use of coal, there would subsequently be a large amount of related pollutants in the air, alongside chemical compounds and other fine particulate matters released from a variety of other sources, as is typically found in a large and growing city. Soot would be found in high quantities, emanating both from combustion sources such as vehicle engines and exhaust fumes, factory furnaces, and even the burning of firewood or other similar materials. Black carbon is a major component of soot, and is created, along with volatile organic compounds (VOC's), when the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels takes place.
Some examples of VOC's that one may find in the air in Dhanbad would be chemicals such as ethylene glycol, methylene chloride, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, as well as benzene, which finds itself also being used as a major industrial chemical, although finds limited use elsewhere due to its highly toxic nature. Other pollutants include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3), as well as huge volumes of finely ground dust with constituents such as silica, concrete, soil and gravel all being present.
Some efforts that could be put into place in order to reduce pollution levels within Dhanbad would be to implement more stringent measures regarding road rules, and the level of emissions that can be released from individual vehicles. It is still a common sight to see many ancient vehicles that pour out large clouds of thick black soot and other noxious fumes, and the imposition of rules regarding vehicle age and condition would go a long way in the fight against air pollution in Dhanbad, with the eventual removal of these vehicles from road use being a significant target.
As well as this, the proper cleaning and maintenance of construction sites, as well as the transportation of coal and other raw materials would also help the huge dust buildups and accumulations from occurring, as well as utilizing specialized vehicles to remove these dust piles from the road, either through hosing the roads down (and making sure piles of sand or transported coal are adequately covered and secured) or by sweeping or vacuuming these dangerous piles of fine dust off the roads and disposing of them in a safe manner.