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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups
| 125* US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Indore is currently 9 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 125 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Moderate 97 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 101 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 88 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 62 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Moderate 63 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Moderate 59 AQI US
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Indore is a city in India belonging to the state of Madhya Pradesh. It also happens to be the largest and most densely populated in the entire state, with some 2 million inhabitants. The levels of pollution in Indore are of great concern for its citizens, with high numbers being recorded that make it comparable to Delhi's air quality levels, as far as its citizens are concerned. The city is well connected to other parts of the state with a good road infrastructure, which whilst being a positive for the cities development also leads to increased instances of air pollution.
Pollution levels currently being taken in Indore are coming in with numbers of PM2.5 as high as 191.4 μg/m³, along with daily readings that average out as high as 95.3 μg/m³. The first reading of 191.4 μg/m³, puts it into the ‘very unhealthy’ pollution rating bracket, one which as the name implies is extremely detrimental to anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in an area with these levels of smoke and haze present in the air.
Of note is that pollution levels are subject to fluctuations due to factors such as weather, with wind speed, rainfall and temperature all playing a role in how bad the pollution levels can reach (lack of wind and rain often being indicative that the pollution will accumulate in the air and have nothing to blow or wash it away).
Current readings that come in on the cleaner end of the spectrum included numbers such as 39.5 μg/m³, as recorded on the 29th of November 2020. This is still a high level of pollution, coming in as ‘moderately’ polluted yet inhabiting the higher end of this rating. These all show that currently air pollution levels in Indore are worthy of precaution.
Air pollution in Indore finds itself arising from a multitude of sources, all of which come together to form the high levels of PM2.5 as shown above. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter, or sometimes less, making them approximately 3% the size of a human hair. With its incredibly small size, PM2.5 is extremely dangerous to those who are exposed to it, making it a major component in calculating overall air quality levels.
Contributing factors to air pollution in Indore would be one such as dust accumulation, a problem also seen in the highly polluted Indian city of Delhi, with dust from varying sources making its way into the city as well as being emitted from industrial processes and construction sites, whereby it can accumulate and build up on the city’s roads, later being sent billowing into the atmosphere when the thousands of cars and trucks drive over it on a daily basis.
These dust particles can also undergo reactions with other pollutants in the air, creating more volatile and noxious compounds. With a high number of vehicles often comes high levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Others would include fine particulate matter such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), often seeing their release from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, which take place on a large scale in diesel-based engines as well as the many factories in the city that run on coal, and heavy industrial equipment used in the many construction sites across the city. Of note is that air pollution levels can skyrocket during the Diwali festival, with the excessive use of firecrackers contributing to massive spikes in pollution levels.
The city of Indore is taking steps to reduce many of the above-mentioned pollution problems. Since it has become well known that the festival of Diwali often leads to the air being choking with its smoke problems for many days after, the city has put new rules into place that prohibit the use of certain firecrackers, as well as prohibiting their sale and restricting the times in which they can be set off.
Other initiatives include ones such as the cleaning of road dust and better maintenance of construction site materials, with the road dust cleansing being of particular importance during drier months when much the needed monsoon rain is absent and therefor allows all these particulate matters to accumulate.
It has been seen that the city is attempting to aggressively promote the use of public transport and reduce the reliance on personal vehicles. Open burning of refuse is also being cracked down on, as well as future plans to reduce pollution hotspots such as factories via the introduction of stricter fuel standards, in a bid to lower the overuse of fossil fuels and thus stem the tide of noxious fumes and smoke being given off by these factories. If Indore is to see improved levels of air quality, then such initiatives must be employed as soon as possible with strict enforcement, which would go a long way in reducing overall air pollution levels.
As touched on previously, large amounts of gases and particulate matter such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and black carbon would be present in the atmosphere of Indore. Other pollutants would include ones that come from the open burning of refuse, particularly those that include large quantities of plastic, with the fumes hosting toxic materials such as dioxins, furans and even metals such as mercury, all of which can have devastating effects on human health as well as being harmful to the environment.
Some of the health issues related to breathing air that can reach PM2.5 levels as high as 191.4 μg/m³ would be ones such as increased risks of lung cancer and heart attacks, as well as damage to the respiratory system along with the liver and kidneys. Reproductive health can also be affected, with incidences of infertility in those exposed to high levels of pollution over long periods of time. Fumes from burnt plastic can cause irritation the eyes, skin and nose as well as damage to the nervous system.
Babies exposed to pollution levels whilst still in the womb have higher chances of miscarriage, low birth weight and premature delivery, all of which can contribute to infant mortality.