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|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 98* US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Moradabad is currently 6.9 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 98 AQI US
|Sunday, Feb 25
Moderate 93 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Moderate 98 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Moderate 100 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 107 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 104 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 111 AQI US
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Moradabad is a city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, next to the Ramganga river. The state of Uttar Pradesh is one of the most populous in the whole country, with over 200 million inhabitants living within the state, as well as 889 thousand people living within the city of Moradabad. Due to being located in such a densely populated state, as well as having an economy heavily based around factory manufacturing and exportation, the city is subject to some fairly disastrous levels of air quality for much of the year. It is also a city that is undergoing rapid growth in both its population as well as infrastructure, other elements that would also add to the high pollution levels already seen.
To quote some figures to show just how evident this issue is in Moradabad, in 2019, the city came in with a yearly PM2.5 average of 76.5 μg/m³, an extremely high reading that placed the city in the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to achieve such a classification. As the name suggest, the air quality is extremely unhealthy and carries a number of ill effects for its citizens as a result. This reading also placed Moradabad in 30th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2019 (a very high ranking and poor placing in terms of air quality, amongst the top 50 most polluted cities in the world), and in 21st place out of all cities ranked in India.
There are a number of different causes of high levels of air pollution in Moradabad, many of which come together to compound each other and cause the extremely high readings on record. These elevations of pollution are also exacerbated by meteorological conditions, with changing weather adding to buildups of deadly chemical compounds and fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10, as well as larger materials such as dust or silica particles).
Amongst the top causes, are ones such as crop burning, or stubble burning as it is commonly referred to. This occurs throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh, and is considered a major contributor to pollution levels, with fires taking place miles outside of a city being able to drift over and get stuck within a city’s urban topography (high rise building with a lack of prevailing winds or circulation can aid heavily in this). Other prominent sources are vehicular pollution, factory and power plant emissions (with all three prior factors using fossil fuels such as diesel and coal which can put out large amounts of dirty and harmful pollutants when burnt), as well as construction sites, road repairs and the open burning of waste or refuse.
As touched on briefly in the previous question, vehicles are one of the constant factors that see rises in the year round ambient readings of Moradabad, as well as in many cities throughout India and indeed the whole world. This often goes hand in hand with factory or power plant emissions, which never cease throughout the whole year and have a constant stream of pollutive output (although it can be mentioned that in 2020, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, large cessations of vehicle movement were seen due to movement control being implemented, which led to massive drops in pollution, showing just how prominent the mass movement of people truly is amongst the pollution count).
In regards to vehicles and the problem they pose, besides the normal factors such as running on diesel fuels, as well as putting out large amounts of particulate matter such as black carbon (the main component of soot), many of the vehicles in Moradabad are of the aged variety, with cars, motorbikes and heavier ones such as lorries or trucks all running on engines that are well past their best years. This poses a problem due to poor combustion processes, which puts out far greater amounts of pollution than a newer or cleaner model would, as well as leaking fuel and oil vapors which can contribute greatly to harmful chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) being in the air.
Observing the data collected over the course of 2019, Moradabad showed a clear cut period of time in which the PM2.5 levels were at their highest, with seasonal factors such as colder weather playing a large part in this, due largely to extra energy consumption for heating in homes and businesses as well as well as increased burning of firewood and other similar materials in homes, more prominent in lower income districts or homes that rely on traditional methods for both heating and cooking.
Moradabad had a particularly long and extended period of high pollution, with the month of September through to October being where the depreciation in air quality started to take hold. September came in with a PM2.5 reading of 32.8 μg/m³, which was then followed by a massive increase up to 91.7 μg/m³ in October, and then an even further increase in December of 116.4 μg/m³ being recorded. This continued on well into the following year, with January showing the most critical of all the pollution readings at 189 μg/m³, making it the only month of the year to fall into the ‘very unhealthy’ bracket (150.5 to 250.4 μg/m³ required).
In closing, the months of October through to June of the following year were when the pollution levels were at their highest, with January being the most polluted month of them all at 189 μg/m³.
Whilst there are no portions of Moradabad’s population that would be safe from such massive pollution levels, there are certain groups that would be more at risk for a number of reasons. Some members of these demographics include young children, the elderly, as well as those with preexisting health conditions, chemical sensitivity or compromised immune systems. One group that is even more at risk is pregnant women, who can suffer from a variety of catastrophic effects when overexposed to pollution. such cases include chances of miscarriage occurring, babies being born prematurely or with a low birth weight, as well as a whole host of both physical and mental defects being possible due to the tainting effects that various pollutants can have on the health of a developing body. This is also seen in young children and their propensity to develop allergies or other harmful conditions as a result of over exposure.