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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups|| 108* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Thane is currently 7.7 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 108 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Moderate 94 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 96 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 93 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 93 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 115 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 105 AQI US
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Thane is situated in the state of Maharashtra towards the north-east. It is a close neighbour of Mumbai and is actually regarded as being part of Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
During 2020, because of the COVID 19 situation, many cities went into lockdown which prevented people from moving from one place to another, unless absolutely necessary. Thane was no exception. During the lockdown period, the levels of air pollution fell into the green and yellow categories. This represents low and medium levels of pollution. However, since the lockdown situation has been eased, the levels are returning to their previous levels of orange and red, (high and very high). These figures are based on the recommended guidelines as encouraged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Towards the end of 2020 Thane recorded a US AQI reading of 155 which categorises it as “Unhealthy”. This follows the classification as laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The main pollutant is the Particulate Matter PM2.5 with a concentration of 63 µg/m³. PM10 levels stood at 227.4 µg/m³, ozone (O3) was 24 µg/m³. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) measured 2.4 µg/m³ and 440 µg/m³, respectively. At this time of year, pollution usually is high and produces some extremely unhealthy air. This is partly due to the lack of rain at this time of year which acts as an air cleaner.
In 2019 Thane and Wadala were connected by a new metro system designed to reduce the number of private cars used for daily commuting. It became part of the 118 kilometre Mumbai network.
Many buses are operated by the Thane Municipal Corporation Transport services (TMT) which carry passengers between the two cities and their suburbs. On a daily basis, these buses run a staggering total of 63,135 kilometres. There are slightly less than 300 buses and each one travels an estimated 211 kilometres. As these buses get older and longer useful, they are to be replaced with electric vehicles or ones which run on clean fuel.
A light rail network is in the planning stage which is intended to reduce air pollution even further. This introduction cannot happen too soon as the existing public transportation network is vastly overloaded and cannot cope with the volume of people moving from city to city. For this reason alone, individuals have no other choice than to use their cars to get to and from work.
According to a survey, particulate matter PM2.5 in Thane fell from 47.2µg/m³ in 2017 to 38.6 µg/m³ in 2018. This made Thane less polluted than Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad, even though they are all in close proximity to each other. It was also stated that there was not a problem with sulphur dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollutants and that the pollution levels were low during the Diwali festivities in 2018 too.
Roads have been widened to help increase the flow and prevent traffic idling at junctions with their engines still running. And 40 dust control machines have been installed near some of the busiest intersections, removing dust from the environment.
The installation of monitoring stations to measure PM 2.5 particulates in the city has been proposed. Electronic boards will then be installed outside three air pollution monitoring stations, which will display pollution levels in their city. People then will be able to make a choice of what to do.
As with most cities, it is the huge number of vehicle on the road, each day that is the chief contributing factor to Thane’s polluted air. Due to its close proximity to Mumbai, many transportation links pass through Thane as they connect with Mumbai.
In 2018, there were 150,000 more new vehicles registered than last year. The number of two-wheelers in the city was 176,000 in 2016 and it had increased by 72,000. In 2019 there were 192,700 vehicles in the city, out of which 150,000 vehicles were coming and going from other cities to Thane. That is why the amount of air and noise pollution in the city has increased more than last year.
Due to the rapidly growing number of vehicles, industrialization and newly erected concrete housing estates have led to an increase in noise and air pollution in Thane, according to a municipal environmental report. The report said that the garbage dumping area in the busiest area of the city was the most polluted area and the level of pollution had exceeded the danger level.
Despite continuous efforts to control noise pollution, it has also increased recently. The Pollution Control Board has surveyed 40 places in the four areas of residential, commercial, peaceful and industrial and found that the noise level in 31 places was found to be more than 75 decibels.
Out of all the pollutants found in Thane’s air, the PM2.5 particulates are undoubtedly the most detrimental to health. Because of their microscopic size, they can easily bypass the body’s natural defence system and make their way deep inside the lungs. They eventually find themselves at the base of the bronchial tubes in the alveoli. There are approximately 480 million of these sacs in the average human body. They expand when the body breathes in to take in the oxygen (O) and contract to expel the carbon dioxide (CO2). As blood moves through the walls of the alveoli it collects the oxygen and exchanges it for carbon dioxide. This process is hindered by the presence of PM2.5 particles. They too can be transferred to the blood and enter the bloodstream where they can travel as far as the heart.
Once in the heart, they can add stress by making the heart work harder to get the vital oxygen that it needs. This causes cellular damage which can lead to cardiovascular illnesses. They can cause an irregular heartbeat and provoke nonfatal heart attacks.
Wearing a good quality mask is advisable if going outside when the air is badly polluted. Try not to go out unless it is necessary and then spend as little time as possible exposed to the polluted air.