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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy|| 193* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Gurgaon is currently 27.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy 193 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Unhealthy 157 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Unhealthy 152 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy 151 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy 151 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 146 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Unhealthy 154 AQI US
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Gurgaon, also known as Gurugram, is a city found in the Indian state of Haryana, one of 28 different states across the country, and situated in the northern region of India. It finds itself extremely close to the national capital city of New Delhi, being only 30km away and thus considered one of its major satellite cities, meaning that it shares a large amount of commerce, trade and industry with the national capital. Gurgaon also has a population of 1.15 million people, an outdated figure that was taken in 2011 and thus will have grown exponentially since then.
Besides having a huge population and a close proximity to New Delhi, Gurgaon also has a sizeable amount of its own economic power, being home to many multinational and local headquarters, as well as being India's 2nd largest provider in the IT industry, and 3rd largest in the financial sector. Whilst all of these factors help to massively improve the quality of life for citizens in Gurgaon, as well as assisting to propel India into the future as a world power, it also brings with it the unfortunate side effect of causing huge amounts of air pollution, with massive vehicular transits and large amounts of industrial and anthropogenic activity all causing huge spikes in pollution levels.
In early 2021, Gurgaon came in with PM2.5 readings going as high as 122.3 μg/m³, a sizeable reading that would place it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of any number between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. As the name indicates, this represents a dangerous level of air quality for the citizens to be breathing, with a large number of health issues all being possible, some of which will be discussed in short.
The main causes of pollution in Gurgaon typically arise from a multitude of different combustion sources present across the city, all of which come together to form the drastically elevated levels of PM2.5 caught on record. One of these issues would be that of vehicular emissions, with countless numbers of vehicles populating the road at any given time, with ones such as cars, motorbikes and tuk tuk’s all moving back and forth in peoples daily commute, as well as large amounts of heavy duty vehicles such as trucks and lorries coming in and out of the city on a daily basis, carrying a variety of different goods or industrial items.
Many of these vehicles would run on diesel fuel, which besides being unsustainable, is far more polluting than a cleaner or renewable fuel source would be. Compounding the situation further is the fact that many of the vehicles present in Gurgaon would be well past their best days in terms of age and engine quality, a factor which can lead to much larger release of hazardous particulate matter, as well as noxious oil vapors and other chemical compounds.
Other prominent sources would be road dust, as well as other finely ground particulate matter coming from construction sites and road repairs. Factories and power plants would also contribute to the growing amount of smoke and haze in the air, along with the open burning of trash and refuse, an illegal practice that continues to happen due to lack of proper enforcement, particularly in lower income districts. The colder months can also bring with them higher instances of firewood or charcoal burning, which along with all the other mentioned factors, aid in the greatly elevated levels of PM2.5 present within Gurgaon.
Some health risks that may present themselves to those exposed to pollution in Gurgaon would be ones such as surface level ailments, which include coughing, chest pains, rashes appearing on the skin as well as irritation to the mucous membranes, with the eyes, ears, nose and mouth all being affected. Nausea and vomiting can happen when sudden acute exposure occurs, along with headaches and the triggering of preexisting health conditions such as asthma.
Other health risks include cardiac related ones such as ischemic heart disease, angina, arrythmias or increased instances of heart attacks. Respiratory conditions such as rapid aging or scarring of the lung tissue can occur, along with inflammation and irritation of the airways. This can reduce full lung function, as well as make affected individuals more susceptible to pulmonary conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema. Damage to the kidneys, liver, endocrine system and even reproductive system can all occur, showing just how pervasive the effects of excessive air pollution can be on human health, as well as the environment and ecosystem.
With much of the pollution coming from sources that involve combustion, or release large amounts of finely ground particulate matter (such as PM2.5 or PM10, referring to particles that are 2.5 or 10 micrometers or less in diameter, and thus of great danger to human health, more so as the particle size gets smaller), there would subsequently be a related number of pollutants in the air in Gurgaon.
These include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which are released in great quantities from vehicles, as well as other combustion sources. They act as major irritants to the respiratory tract, as well as significant contributors to acid rain, and even the formation of ozone (O3) when in their various oxide forms, particularly nitrogen oxide (NOx). When subject to solar radiation via sunlight, these oxides of nitrogen can convert into ozone, or smog as it is typically called when it gathers in large enough concentrations.
Whilst everyone is affected to some degree or another by polluted air in Gurgaon, there are certain groups that are far more vulnerable due to a multitude of reasons, usually based on age, health and individual disposition. These include ones such as young children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, as well as those with compromised immune systems or preexisting health conditions, and those with a particular sensitivity towards chemical exposure. These are the groups that are typically more at risk amongst the general population.