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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 83* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Aurangabad is currently 5.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 83 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 107 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 101 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 101 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Moderate 99 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 116 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 110 AQI US
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Aurangabad is a city located in Maharashtra, a state that is situated in the western region of India, counted as the second most populous one throughout the country. Consisting of large areas of hilly terrain, Aurangabad is a city that is home to over 1.17 million people, a number that is consistently growing, as with many cities across India.
With this population growth there is also a significant movement in the economy and industry of Aurangabad, being one of the designated smart cities of the future, as well as having an already well established economy based around silk and cotton textile production. This leads Aurangabad to have many industrial areas throughout it, which when combined with a well developed road and highway infrastructure, has led to widespread buildups of pollution that see many months of the year in Aurangabad come in with less than appreciable levels of air pollution.
In 2019, Aurangabad was recorded as having a yearly PM2.5 average reading of 44.2 μg/m³, a considerably high reading that puts it directly into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This is indicative, as the name suggest, that the air quality in Aurangabad presents some danger to a large portion of the population. This reading also put Aurangabad into 178th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 57th place out of all cities ranked in India in 2019, very high rankings that will need considerable governmental intervention in the future to place better on the world circuit.
As mentioned, Aurangabad has a designated industrial area within it, and with these areas often comes a fairly large amount of pollutive output. Besides textile and cloth factories, there would also be numerous other factories, power plants and industrial zones to supply electricity and other utilities to the growing population. Factories and power plants go through large amounts of fossil fuels such as diesel in their heavy machinery as well as coal to obtain a majority of their energy, and besides being unsustainable in its source, is also a major cause of pollution and hazardous particulate matter.
Other sources found in Aurangabad include the massive amount of cars present on the road, ranging from countless personal vehicles such as cars and motorbikes, up to larger and more polluting ones such as buses, lorries and trucks, to carry the industrial goods or material in and out of the city. These also run on diesel fuels more often than not, as well as many of the personal vehicles (particularly motorbikes) and trucks being of the aged variety, having poor quality engines that put out considerable amounts of oil vapor and noxious pollutants, more so than a newer or cleaner model of its kind would. Amongst others are sources such as construction sites as well as road repairs (less well known but still major sources of dangerous particulate matter and even heavy metals and microplastics) and the burning of refuse and waste, as well as firewood, by the general population.
Going off of the data collected over the course of 2019, Aurangabad was shown to have a fairly clear cut period of time as to when its pollution levels were at even higher and more dangerous levels, and it was indeed a large portion of the year. October through to November was when the real difference was seen, with October coming in with a reading of 29.4 μg/m³, which then rapidly rose up to 44 μg/m³ in November and then 48.7 μg/m³ in December, showing an increase as the months went by.
This continued until the following year, with the early months showing even worse readings of pollution. January through to June also showed some of the highest readings of pollution, with PM2.5 readings starting to abate rapidly after the month of June. The most polluted month of the year was January with a PM2.5 reading of 84.1 μg/m³, a reading high enough to place the month into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which as the name suggests is extremely detrimental to people’s health and can have a wide range of negative side effects and health issues, as well as causing environmental damage.
Whilst all members of the population can be affected, particularly those who live near heavily polluted areas such as busy roads or industrial areas, there are certain demographics that are even more at risk due to their natural predisposition towards pollution sensitivity. These include young children, as well as the elderly, those with compromised immune systems due to diseases, accidents or congenital defects, and those with preexisting health conditions, particularly of the respiratory or cardiac variety.
Children can develop lifelong problems when over exposed to pollution, with skin problems appearing along with massively increased instances of allergies or exposure induced chemical sensitivity. Pregnant mothers would be amongst some of the most vulnerable due to the effects that pollution exposure can have on an unborn baby. These effects include cases of miscarriage, as well as babies being born either prematurely or with a low birth weight, factors that can increase the infant mortality rate. As well as this, babies may be born with mental or physical impairments, for a wide variety of reasons depending on what their mothers were exposed to and in what quantities.
In closing, whilst the whole year saw some fairly bad readings of pollution, there was a brief period of respite in which the pollution readings fell somewhat down to more appreciable levels. As mentioned, in the month of June onwards a significant drop in the PM2.5 readings was seen. June itself presented with a reading of 54.9 μg/m³, which was then followed by a reading of 19.9 μg/m³ in the following month, showing a significant drop in pollution. This period continued on until October until the PM2.5 count started to rise again, making the period between July and October the cleanest of the year, as well as the month of July being the cleanest, with its reading of 19.9 μg/m³.