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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 90* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Nashik is currently 6.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 90 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Moderate 93 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 101 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 100 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 109 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 121 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 106 AQI US
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Nashik is a city located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in the western peninsular region of the country. It is the fourth largest city in the state, coming in after other major cities such as Mumbai and Nagpur. It is renowned for being a major pilgrimage site, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the festivals that take place within its limits. Nashik is also known as the wine capital of India, with over 50 percent of all vineyards and wineries being found here, making it a major exporter of this product. The city has a sizeable population of 1.48 million people, from a census taken in 2011, making it an outdated estimate and bound to have grown by a considerable amount since then.
Regarding the quality of its air, Nashik came in with a PM2.5 reading of 39.3 μg/m³ as its yearly average over the course of 2019. This reading gave Nashik a ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ rating, one which requires a PM2.5 reading between 35.5 and 55.4 to be classed as such. This is a reading that shows that Nashik has some less than optimal quality of air, and as the name suggests, can cause harm to sensitive portions of the population. This reading of 39.3 μg/m³ placed it in 244th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 67th place out of all cities ranked in India. This extremely high world ranking shows that Nashik has a long way to go to improve its air pollution levels, with some months going up considerably higher to dangerous levels.
Observing the PM2.5 readings taken over the course of 2019, Nashik has some months that come in far more polluted than other months of the year, with a wide ranging disparity across the numbers on record. Towards the end of the year is when the pollution levels start to rise, as is consistent in nearly every city on record in India, for reasons relating to both human activity as well as meteorological conditions and the impact they have on both pollutive accumulation and the actions they cause amongst the population (with colder temperatures in the north of the country causing people to burn more materials such as wood for warmth during times when the temperatures drop).
In the month of October going on the November is when a noticeable change becomes evident, with October coming in with a PM2.5 reading of 29.3 μg/m³, a number that is still high by any means, especially on the world circuit. However, it went up by a considerable amount to 50.2 μg/m³ in November, and then up even further to 56.9 μg/m³. These are some very high readings of pollution, showing that India has a real host of air quality problems that need addressing. The early months of the year also displayed that these high readings continued to go up, with January and February coming in with even more intense readings of 91.4 μg/m³ and 68.9 μg/m³ respectively. This made January the most polluted month of the year, with its reading of 91.4 μg/m³ putting it in the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, a less than appreciable group ranking that requires a PM2.5 reading of 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.
With such high readings of pollution occurring in the city, Nashik has a multitude of different polluting sources coupled with certain conditions that assist in keeping these levels high. In regards to human related activity that causes these polluted conditions, one of the more prominent ones would be emissions from factories, power plants and other similar industrial areas. These run on fossil fuels such as fuel, as well as other unclean fuel sources on occasion. Besides emitting the resulting smoke and particulate matter that is caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, factories can also leak their own industrial effluence that is unique to whatever material is being produced (such as burnt plastic fumes and heavy metals), which can exact a heavy toll on the surrounding environment, with the air, water and soil all subject to possible contamination, affecting not only the health of people but also vegetation and wildlife.
Other prominent sources are the ever present vehicle emissions and fumes, coming from the various cars, motorbikes and rickshaws on the road, as well as heavy duty vehicles such as trucks and buses, many of which run on diesel and other unclean fuels (similar in nature to factories). Other one’s worth mentioning are the open burning of waste and garbage through improper disposal, construction sites and road repairs, as well as the burning of wood and charcoal, often done in more traditional or low income households as a replacement for electricity or natural gas.
Whilst much of the year remained at high levels of pollution, after the exceptionally high period started to abate in the months of March and April, the following month of May is when the cleanest period started, which ran all the way through to October. This whole period of time came in within the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, significantly lower than the other rankings during the late and early months of the year. The cleanest month of the year was September, with a PM2.5 reading of 16 μg/m³, making it only 4 units away from being moved into the ‘good’ ratings bracket.
With such polluted air occurring through many months of the year, Nashik would have subsequent dangers for those who live in the city and have to commute or pass through areas of high pollution. Some of these issues would include respiratory issues such as dry cough, irritation to the lungs as well as chest infections, alongside increased rates of cancer, mostly regarding the lungs but also possible in many other areas or organs throughout the body. Pneumonia and bronchitis would be common place, as well as aggravated forms of asthma. Damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver and reproductive system are all possible, along with heart disease and increased rates of cardiac arrest and arrythmias. These are but a few of the health issues associated with breathing polluted air in Nashik, with many more occurring when the different types of pollutants and their interactions with people are delved into more deeply.