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When the air pollution map for Bhopal is first opened, the viewer will see an orange-coloured disc over the city. The number within the circle is the US AQI reading. The higher this number, the worse the air quality. The colours and their meaning are explained in the legend at the bottom of the expanded screen. Basically, the colours range from pale green for good air quality through yellow, orange and red to purple and maroon which indicates hazardous quality. The overall background of the map also reflects the air quality. In Bhopal, the map has a dark yellow hue.
If there are any wildfires burning in the vicinity, these will also show up on the map, which, together with the wind direction can give a good indication as to whether or not the city will be affected by the smoke. During the second quarter of 2022, the closest fire to Bhopal was ten kilometres away and fortunately, the wind would blow the smoke south of the city.
This US AQI number is used to compare different cities by using a standard set of metrics. It is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is calculated by measuring up to six of the most commonly found pollutants. If not all six are available, a figure can still be calculated.
When viewed in full-screen mode, a drop-down box can be seen on the right-hand side of the screen. This is a World AQI ranking system which shows the most polluted cities across the world with their US AQI number so that comparisons can be easily made. A full list will become available if the box is expanded.
On the other side of the screen is found a list of features that appear on the map. These include the positions of the air monitors, the location of any active wildfires, the air quality and the direction of the wind.
Access to the air pollution map for Bhopal is through the main city page, which when read together provide a slot of useful information regarding all aspects of air quality.
During the second quarter of 2022, Bhopal was experiencing a period of air quality classed as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with a US AQI reading of 141. The major pollutant which was measured was PM2.5 with a level of 51.7µg/m³ which is over ten times the recommended level of 5 µg/m³ as recommended by the WHO. You will also see the predicted level of pollution for the next few days. This can be very useful if you are planning to travel elsewhere within the next few days.
There is also a table showing the real-time city rankings for other Indian cities for direct comparison.
The areas of high pollution are indicated by discs with high numbers on them. If there are not many discs, it will be easy to see. However, if there are a lot of discs on top of each other, the map can be expanded and eventually the overlapping discs will separate from one another. Local residents may recognise areas of pollution as being the industrial zones which are home to many factories which are responsible for the localised poor air quality. There may be other “pockets” of poor air quality in the city centre due to the high volume of traffic, especially at certain times of the day when people are commuting.
Underneath the map can be seen the number of monitoring stations there are as well as the number of contributors. Sometimes this data is enhanced by the use of mobile monitoring stations and even satellite data is used. The station in Bhopal is the T T Nagar which is operated by the Central Pollution Control Board.
The air pollution map for Bhopal only indicates where the air pollution is at its worst but it does not reveal the source of the pollution directly.
Natural sources of air pollution are volcanic eruptions, forest fires, sea salt spray, biological decay, photochemical oxidation of terpenes, marshes, pollen grains, spores of flowers, etc. Radioactive minerals present in the earth's crust are the sources of radioactivity in the atmosphere.
Man-made sources include thermal power plants, industrial units, vehicle emissions, burning of fossil fuels, agricultural activities, etc. Thermal power plants have become the major source of electricity generation in India as nuclear power plants could not be set up as planned. The main emitted pollutants are fly ash and sulphur dioxide. Metallurgical plants also consume coal and produce similar pollutants. Fertilizer plants, smelters, textile mills, tanneries, refineries, chemical industries, paper and pulp mills are other sources of air pollution.
Automobile exhaust is another major source of air pollution. Automobiles release gases such as carbon monoxide (about 77 per cent), oxides of nitrogen (about 8 per cent), and hydrocarbons (about 14 per cent). Heavy duty diesel vehicles emit more nitrogen oxides and suspended particulate matter (SPM) than petrol vehicles which produce more carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
Particular matter 2.5 and 10 which are used to measure the particles present in the air. After increasing the level of PM2.5 and PM10 in the air, the problem of shortness of breath, burning in the eyes etc. starts, the most problem comes to those people who are respiratory patients and asthma patients. Along with this, breathing in bad air continuously can also lead to the problem of lung cancer.
The size of human hair is 50 to 60 microns, but PM10 means that the dust, dirt and metal particles present in the air are smaller than our hair and PM2.5 particles are even smaller than PM10 and can easily enter our body and even dissolve in our blood. Once in the bloodstream, they can travel around the body and eventually reach the heart.