|2||Charkhi Dadri, Haryana|
|7||Durgapur, West Bengal|
|9||Alappakkam, Tamil Nadu|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 107 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 38.1 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 84 µg/m³|
|NO2|| 4 µg/m³|
|SO2|| 10.4 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Bulandshahr air is currently 3 times above WHO exposure recommendation
|Monday, Jun 14|
Moderate 68 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 15|
Moderate 65 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 16|
Moderate 93 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 111 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 18|
Moderate 57 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 19|
Moderate 80 US AQI
|Sunday, Jun 20|
Moderate 85 US AQI
|Monday, Jun 21|
Moderate 93 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 22|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 114 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 23|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 113 US AQI
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Bulandshahr is a city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with a close proximity to New Delhi, the capital city of India. Having such close proximity to a large capital city would bring with it a number of its own pollutive issues, and this is extremely apparent when one observes the levels of pollution present in Bulandshahr.
It has come in consistently with extremely bad levels of air pollution since the data started to be officially collected in 2018, with readings of US AQI and PM2.5 that put it amongst the top most polluted cities in the world. In April of 2021 Bulandshahr came in with a US AQI reading of 165, an extremely high number that placed it in the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket for that particular period of time.
As the ratings name implies, the air quality during early April would be extremely detrimental to one’s health, particularly for those who belong to vulnerable demographics such as the elderly or young children, as well as those with poor health or pre-existing conditions, particularly of the cardiac or pulmonary variety. Pregnant women are also an extremely vulnerable demographic for excessive or extreme pollution exposure.
In 2020, Bulandshahr came in with even worse readings, with a yearly PM2.5 average of 98.4 μg/m³ having been recorded. This is an extremely high yearly average that put the city in 2nd place out of all cities ranked in India over 2020, as well as 3rd place out of all cities ranked worldwide, coming in just behind Ghaziabad in India, and Hotan in China (which took first place). This is indictive that the city of Bulandshahr has some severe pollution issues that it must deal with if the health and safety of its citizens is to be ensured in the years to come.
As with many cities across India, particularly those that are counted as satellite cities of the capital, there are a number of issues that contribute to the extremely high levels of pollution witnessed over 2020, as well as continuing on further into 2021. Meteorological conditions can be a compounding factor, with extreme heat causing the creation of secondary pollutants to form in the atmosphere, with ozone (O3) being the most pertinent of these.
Primary pollutants are ones that typically form directly from a singular source such as a vehicle engine or open fire, whilst secondary pollutants form in the atmosphere as a result of a chemical reaction between various pollutants under the right conditions. Of note is that some types of pollution can be both primary and secondary pollutants.
Regarding these sources, they would be ones such as vehicular emissions, with many cars and freight vehicles moving in and out of the city every day, releasing tons of chemical compounds and dangerous particulate matter into the air, as well as even creating large amounts of microscopic rubber particles as a result of tire tread wearing, which can affect both human health as well as the environment.
Other sources include factories and power plants, both of which put out huge amounts of unregulated pollution, containing many different types of noxious pollutants. Dust from roads, construction sites, demolition areas and even road repairs can cause massive accumulations of both coarse (PM10) and fine (PM2.5) particles to permeate the atmosphere, with geographical features such as low altitudes, valleys or surrounding mountain ranges creating ‘pollution sinks’, whereby these massive amounts of particulate matter and other chemical pollutants can accumulate over long periods of time, lacking the strong prevailing winds necessary to blow them away and thus clean the cities air.
Strong wind has been shown to be one of the more important meteorological events to clear pollution from the air, being far more efficacious that heavy rain is in terms of removing all manner of contaminants from the air (although of note is that rain can be effective in removing the larger (PM10) particles of dirt from the air, but has little effect in removing the finer particles).
Looking at the air quality data taken over the course of 2020 as a strong recent evaluation of PM2.5 levels, it can be seen that there were certain months where the pollution level was significantly higher than the rest of the year, although it must be mentioned that the entire year still had terrible air contamination taking place.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making it roughly 30% the size of a human hair. Due to this extremely small size, it presents significant danger to human health and is used as a major component in the calculation of the overall AQI, or air quality index, as well as a prominent measure in its own right.
Bulandshahr saw its worst air quality readings take place in both the very beginning and end of the year, indicating the as the pollution level starts to worsen towards the end of the year, the heightened PM2.5 levels would spill over to the early months of the following year, before falling somewhat to slightly more appreciable levels. September came in with a PM2.5 reading of 82.2 μg/m³, which then rose rapidly up to 145 μg/m³ in the following month, and then to 150 μg/m³ in November. December saw an even higher reading of 167.1 μg/m³, putting it into the ‘very unhealthy’ air quality ratings category, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 150.5 to 250.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.
This shows that December was the most polluted month of the year with its massive reading of 167.1 μg/m³, indicating that this month would have seen large amounts of smoke, haze, dust clouds and other air contaminants permeating the atmosphere.
Some health issues that would arise from living in one of the worlds most polluted cities would be ones such as increased instances of dry coughs and chest pain, as well as both chest and throat infections due to constant inhalation of irritating particles or chemicals.
Rates of cancer can go up significantly, with the lungs being the biggest target for damage, as well as the skin also being subject to possible cancer due to excessive exposure, as well as a variety of other dermal ailments such as severe acne, psoriasis, eczema and atopic dermatitis all being possible. Further respiratory conditions include ones such as pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis and aggravated forms of asthma.
The months that came in with the least amount of air pollution were June through to August, which came in with PM2.5 readings of 65 μg/m³, 53.6 μg/m³ and 57.4 μg/m³ respectively. Whilst these are still extremely high by international standards, they represent a low point for air pollution in Bulandshahr in 2020.
July was the cleanest month of the year with its reading of 53.6 μg/m³, and the only month to make it into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ pollution bracket, which requires a reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.