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|4||Shivaji Nagar, Maharashtra|
|7||Muragacha, West Bengal|
|8||Karol Bagh, Delhi|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 103* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Muzaffarnagar is currently 7.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
|Wednesday, Feb 8|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
|Thursday, Feb 9|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 130 US AQI
|Friday, Feb 10|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 146 US AQI
|Saturday, Feb 11|
Moderate 96 US AQI
|Sunday, Feb 12|
Moderate 70 US AQI
|Monday, Feb 13|
Moderate 78 US AQI
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Muzaffarnagar is a city located in Uttar Pradesh, one of the major and most populous states in the northern region of India. It has a close proximity to the capital of India, New Delhi, as well as many other important satellite cities, and is considered to be one of the most developed and economically stable cities in Uttar Pradesh, with continued development and infrastructure still on the agenda as it grows further.
Whilst it has these strong points regarding its economic standing and well connected routes to many surrounding cities, it is also subject to some very poor quality of air, having some of the most polluted air found in the world. Increased anthropogenic activity, growing population size as well as certain meteorological conditions are all contributing factors to Muzaffarnagar’s poor air quality, reaching some rather severe levels in many months of the year, with some of the causes as to why being discussed in short.
In April of 2021, Muzaffarnagar was seen with a US AQI reading of 96, a relatively decent reading that would place it into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket for that point in time. However, when hourly recordings of the US AQI level are observed, it can be seen that they went up to highs of 183, all within the course of a single day, showing the Muzaffarnagar will be subject to sporadic spells of extreme air pollution, causing great danger to the health of its citizens, particularly those that are part of a vulnerable demographic, which includes groups such as young children and babies, pregnant mothers and the elderly, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions (particularly of the cardiac or pulmonary variety) and those with general poor health and compromised immune systems.
This US AQI reading of 183 would put Muzaffarnagar into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket at that particular point in time, which as the name implies carries a large amount of danger with it for those who are subject to breathing it even over short periods of time, causing a number of adverse health effects that will also be discussed later in the article.
In 2020, Muzaffarnagar came in with a PM2.5 reading of 78.6 μg/m³ as its yearly average, an extremely high reading that once again put it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, indicating that much of the year would see large amounts of smoke, haze, dust clouds and all manner of hazardous contaminants in the air. This reading also placed Muzaffarnagar in 20th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020 (an extremely poor placing indicative of the dangers that the cities air presents), as well as 15th place out of all cities ranked in India.
Thus, the city will need to put in place many appropriate measures if it is to see its pollution levels drop to more appreciable numbers in the following years, with the health of its citizens being at stake if vast improvements are not rapidly made.
Muzaffarnagar sees much of its pollution arise from the various combustion sites that take place across the city, with many of these processes giving out large amounts of hazardous particulate matter both of the fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) variety. As well as this, many chemical compounds are released into the atmosphere, which besides causing a large number of ill health effects on the inhabitants of the city, can also cause damage to buildings, various ecosystems and the environment, as well as vegetation and plant life, showing just how far reaching the negative effects of high pollution levels can be.
Some of the main causes of pollution would be ones such as vehicular emissions, with a huge amount of vehicles such as tuk tuk’s, motorbikes and cars being on the road at any given time, giving out large volumes of exhaust fumes that contain pollutants such as black carbon (the main component of soot), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), as well as carbon monoxide (CO) and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) that can lead to the formation of secondary pollutants such as ozone (O3).
Other prominent causes of pollution in Muzaffarnagar include the burning of crops or crop stubble as it is widely referred to, which can cause vast clouds of smoke to drift over nearby cities and remain trapped within the urban infrastructure, with a lack of strong winds leading to massive accumulations that have further debilitating effects on the general population. Other causes are ones such as construction sites and road repair areas, both of which can release large amounts of dust particles and finely ground silica, which carry many negative health effects when inhaled. The burning of coal, firewood and charcoal during the colder months is also a major contributor, with all these different sources adding up to give the extremely high PM2.5 levels seen on record.
Observing the data collected over the course of 2020, it can be seen that Muzaffarnagar had certain months that elevated themselves way beyond the rest of the year, with four months coming in with the highest readings of PM2.5. They were January, February, October and November, all of which came in with readings of 108.1 μg/m³, 90.9 μg/m³, 126.1 μg/m³ and 102.4 μg/m³ respectively, making October the most polluted month of the year with its reading of 126.1 μg/m³. Extra precaution and preventative measures should be taken during these particular times of the year.
Despite the majority of the year falling into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket in regards to its PM2.5 count, the months of June through to August had somewhat more appreciable readings of pollution, with PM2.5 numbers of 56.2 μg/m³, 52.4 μg/m³ and 49.5 μg/m³ being present, making August the cleanest month of the year (a common sight in northern India over the year of 2020) as well as both July and August falling down a notch into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups bracket’.
With air pollution levels this high, there are many ill side effects that can occur to one’s health, particularly if exposure takes place over a long period of time. This includes surface level issues such as irritation to the mucous membranes, a variety of skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and atopic dermatitis, as well as instances of dry or severe coughs and accompanying chest pains.
More severe health issues include ones such as ischemic heart disease, increased rates of heart attack, arrythmias and strokes, as well as damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys and even reproductive system. As one would imagine, the more commonly seen illnesses would be of the pulmonary variety, with conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma all being problems that may present themselves when certain pollutants are respired.