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|9||Kolkata, West Bengal|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 64* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Kanpur is currently 3.6 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 64 AQI US
|Sunday, Sep 24|
Moderate 94 AQI US
|Monday, Sep 25|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 107 AQI US
|Tuesday, Sep 26|
Moderate 91 AQI US
|Wednesday, Sep 27|
Moderate 96 AQI US
|Thursday, Sep 28|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 130 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 139 AQI US
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Kanpur is a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, historically known as Cawnpore in times past. It has a high population density, with some four and a half million people living in the metropolitan area. It is famous for its involvement in the textile and leather industries, and as with any city that finds itself renowned for some type of material production, there will subsequently be pollution emissions directly related to it, along with a reduction in air quality from all human activities.
Kanpur came in with a yearly average PM2.5 reading of 48.5 μg/m³ in 2019. This puts it in the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, meaning that those with susceptibility to illness, particularly respiratory problems, may be affected more significantly by the levels of air pollution in Kanpur. In order to be classed in that bracket requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³, with Kanpur finding itself on the higher end of this grouping.
PM2.5 refers to any fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, making it approximately 3% the size of an average human hair. Due to its extremely small size, it has great relevance in regards to calculating the overall air pollution levels, with a large amount of health risks associated with inhaling particulate matter of this size.
Kanpur's 2019 reading of 48.5 μg/m³ placed it in 132nd place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as being 46th place out of all cities ranked in India, making it have some fairly significant pollution issues, although of note there are positive changes occurring that will be discussed in short.
Kanpur sees itself subject to several sources of pollution, with each one varying at different times throughout the year, with factors such as humidity, windspeed and human activity all playing their parts in the different levels of pollution seen. Vehicle emission is one factor that is a constant problem, not only for Kanpur and India but countries round the world. With a huge population often comes a large number of cars, motorbikes, buses and lorries, with the first three ferrying people back and forth on their daily commutes, whilst lorries and trucks often carry vast amounts of industrial materials.
These vehicles can often put out higher levels of pollution than should be seen, due to the use of fossil fuels such as diesel still being used in many forms of transport, as well as in factories and the industrial sector, with energy being needed for the numerous textile, chemical and plastic based production plants located within the cities limits.
These factories can put out vast amounts of pollution in their own right, not just from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, but from secondary emissions related to their products, such as plastic fumes or other chemical waste that can make its way into both the water and air. As such, Kanpur sees its air pollution problems mainly coming from vehicles and factories. The accumulation of dust and dirt arising from within the city also plays a large role, along with human activities such as wood burning in homes, most often related to cooking.
Referring to the above related industries, there would be numerous chemical compounds and fine particulate matter released from each of them. Ones of particular prominence would be nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which are released in high concentration from vehicular activity, with nitrogen dioxide being the main offender here, often being found in vast quantities in areas that see large amounts of traffic. Other noxious gases and particulate matter would include black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), both of which are released from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter, and as such would find their sources coming from diesel fuels, factory production and even from burning wood or other organic waste.
Black carbon is a pollutant that has a number of prominent health effects if inhaled, and can often be seen coating areas of roadside that see high volumes of traffic, due to it being a major component in soot. It also has disastrous effects on the climate, due to its ability to absorb solar radiation and convert it directly into heat, thus adding to increased levels of ambient temperatures in big cities round the world.
Based on the numbers recorded over the past few years, it is apparent that Kanpur has seen a great deal of improvement, with one month late in 2019 even hitting the World Health Organizations (WHO) target goal for clean air, with a reading anywhere between 0 to 10 μg/m³ of PM2.5, a respectable feat to achieve which was seen in November 2019 with a reading of 1.2 μg/m³.
Looking at past years data, in 2017 Kanpur came in with a PM2.5 average of 119.2 μg/m³, putting it high up in the ‘unhealthy’ rated bracket, which requires a reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classed as such. This would have meant that the air was extremely dangerous to breathe during this time period, however it saw improvement a year later with an average reading of 88.2 μg/m³ taken in 2018, already a marked improvement however still sitting within the unhealthy rating bracket. 2019 was when Kanpur saw a significant improvement, with an average reading of 48.5 μg/m³, showing that the levels of pollution in Kanpur had nearly dropped by half over the course of a year.
With its 2019 ranking of 46th place in India, it stands to reason that for a highly populated city that sees a lot of industry, it is not faring too poorly, although as mentioned there is still vast room for improvement if the WHO’s target goal of under 10 μg/m³ is to be achieved. To compare to the significantly more polluted city of Lucknow, also in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one can see quite prominent differences. Lucknow came in with an average reading of 90.3 μg/m³ in 2019, with numbers of PM2.5 going as high as 199.6 μg/m³ in November of the same year.
By contrast, Kanpur's worst month in 2019 was January, with a reading of 111.7 μg/m³, and whilst this is still a very high reading, it falls far shorter of Lucknow's 199.6 μg/m³. To close with a comparison of their least polluted months, Kanpur came in with the previously mentioned, and very impressive reading of 1.2 μg/m³ in November, whilst Lucknow's best month was September with a reading of 28.8 μg/m³. This goes to show that Kanpur is making vast strides in the improvement of its air quality, and if it continues to follow its improvement trend, can hopefully find itself dropping down by several ratings.