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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups|| 126* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Vadodara is currently 9.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 126 AQI US
|Friday, Oct 6|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 104 AQI US
|Saturday, Oct 7|
Moderate 96 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 8|
Moderate 94 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 9|
Moderate 95 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 10|
Moderate 98 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 11|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 103 AQI US
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Vadodara is an Indian city in the state of Gujarat and was also known as Baroda. In 2011 it had a population of almost 2 million, making it the 20th most populous city in India. Towards the end of 2020, the air quality index (US AQI) measured 147 which classifies the air quality as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” according to recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The main pollutant is the fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The recorded concentration for this was 54.2 µg/m³. These figures are based on IQAir’s AQI modelling system using satellite data as there are no ground-level monitoring stations as yet.
As with all cities, the main cause of air pollution is the number of vehicles using the road network. Because of its strategic location, Vadodara has become a central transportation hub between the cities of Delhi, Mumbai with Ahmedabad. It is also served by an international airport.
Vadodara is an important industrial city, some of the major industries operating here include petrochemicals, fertilizer production, plastics, engineering, pharmaceuticals and information technology. Many of these large manufacturers are located in the vicinity of the Gujarat refinery as they are dependent on it for their fuel.
Some agricultural practices also add to the air pollution in Vadodara through the burning of organic waste to prepare the ground for the next crop.
Surprisingly, domestic emissions add a considerable amount of pollutants through the use of solid-fuel cooking stoves and domestic furnaces. Dung from cows and buffalo is often mixed with leaves and twigs and shaped into “cakes”. These are then left in the sun to dry and used as a form of fuel in the traditional stove or Chulha. They are remarkably efficient as one cake can give off as much as 2100 kJ worth of energy. And because of their low cost and availability, it is easy to understand why the tradition continues even though they give off a large number of pollutants when they are burnt.
The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has begun to measure the AQI levels and also other pollutants from seven newly installed monitoring stations installed in various locations across the central city area. Comparisons can easily be made once the data is analysed and recommendations made to improve the situation. Two of these stations in Gorwa and at Kalali Road were returning measurements which classed the air quality as very poor.
The quality of air in Vadodara can vary at different times of the year. During the winter months, a temperature inversion occurs. This phenomenon causes the air to stop circulating due to different temperatures found at different heights. Emissions produced by vehicles and dust rising up from the ground exacerbate the situation.
Doctors always report a sharp increase in winter in the number of patients who they treat for respiratory infections. The traditional festivities of Diwali in late October or early November signal the beginning of the winter problems. It is custom to set off fireworks at Diwali which causes a spike in the levels of pollution. This is then followed by a drop in temperature as winter starts.
The air quality in Vadodara is monitored by the Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan (VMSS) who assume responsibility of the 235 square kilometre area which houses the main city. In order to identify problematic areas, this large area is sub-divided into blocks measuring 1 square kilometre. Because the weather plays an important part in air quality, meteorological records are also studied. Heavy rain and high winds soon dissipate any particles of pollution suspended in the air. Conversely, during winter when temperatures and inversion heights are low, the poor quality air becomes trapped between the different layers in the air. During the winter months, domestic levels of emission rise sharply due to the need to heat their homes.
The flow of traffic is monitored as it flows through these 1 square kilometre grids. Information about the speed at which it travels and areas of congestion are correlated. The main pollutants measured in this grid system are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitric oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Particulate matter (PM) is split into four groups. PM2.5 is for particles with a measurement of less than 2.5 microns in diameter. PM 10 particles measure less than 10 microns. The two remaining pollutants are black carbon (BC) and organic carbon (OC).
The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) liaise with the VMSS and process the data obtained from the monitoring stations. These figures are then made available to the residents via a downloadable app (my Vadodara) on their smartphones.
The VMC provides public transport that largely uses CNG (Condensed Natural Gas) or LPG (Liquefied Propane Gas) as it is a relatively clean type of fuel, but residents still prefer to use their own private form of transport because it will always be more convenient.
Healthy people can suffer from exposure to polluted air depending on the concentration of the pollutant and their type and the length of time subject to that exposure. This situation is much worse for people who already suffer from respiratory or other health problems.
High levels of air pollution can aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. It adds stress to the heart as it has to work harder to get the amount of oxygen that the body needs. Cells in the lungs can easily be damaged by these microscopic particles. Long-term exposure prematurely causes the lungs to age, thus decreasing their capacity and their ability to function efficiently.
Some groups of people are more susceptible to polluted air than others. Pregnant women, senior citizens and those who have outdoor jobs are at an increased risk. Children under the age of 14 years are at risk because their lungs are still growing and are not yet fully developed. Athletes who exercise outside are putting their health at risk too.