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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy|| 161* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Kota is currently 15 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Unhealthy 161 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 102 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 107 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 114 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 110 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 111 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 116 AQI US
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Kota, previously known as Kotah, is a city situated in the south-eastern part of the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located about 240 kilometres south of the state capital, Jaipur and is situated on the banks of the Chambal River. A census conducted in 2011 estimated the population to be approximately 1 million people.
Towards the middle of 2021, Kota was experiencing a period of air quality that can be classified as being “Unhealthy” with a US AQI figure of 152. This is an internationally recognised system that can be used when comparing cities in different countries as it uses the same metrics when ascertaining the levels of pollution. There are usually six commonly found pollutants that are measured and used as a benchmark. However, not all six are available in every case so what information is available has to be used as a guide. The recorded concentrations for Kota were as follows: PM2.5 - 58.2 µg/m³, PM10 - 95 µg/m³ and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 21.6 µg/m³.
With elevated levels such as this, the advice would be to stay inside and close all doors and windows to prevent more dirty air from entering the rooms. Those people of a sensitive disposition should avoid unnecessary outdoor activity until the air quality improves. The wearing of a good quality face mask is recommended for all, as is the use of an air purifier if one is available. The table published at the top of this page will help you decide when it is safe to venture outside again.
Air quality can change very quickly because it depends on many variables such as the temperature, the speed and direction of the wind and the strength and availability of sunlight.
The figures for Kota for 2020, have now been published by IQAir.com and it can be seen that the best air quality was enjoyed in April, June, July and August when the figures were between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³ which classified it as “Moderate”. The previous months of January, February and March (as well as May) recorded levels that were classed as “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with figures between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³. The late autumn/winter months of October through to the end of December were the worst with readings of 55.5 to 150.4 µg/m³, which firmly classified the air quality as “Unhealthy”. This was mainly due to the use of coal to provide heating for the homes and public spaces.
Records were first noted in 2018 when the figure was 52.7 µg/m³ followed by 49.1 in 2019. 2020 returned the best figure of 42.1 µg/m³, but this could be artificially lower than average because of the restrictions put into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the lockdown, many vehicles were not used as their drivers were not required to go to work. There were also many factories that were told to suspend production in a bid to suppress the spread of the virus.
The major sources of pollution in Kota are ambient particulate matter, burning of domestic and commercial biomass, wind blowing mineral dust, burning of coal for energy production, industrial emissions and burning of agricultural waste. There are construction works, brick furnaces, traffic vehicles and diesel generators. Due to domestic pollution, solid fuels used for cooking include cow dung, agricultural residue and charcoal etc.
More than two-thirds of the country's total population generate carbon from cooking. India tops the list of countries that do not use clean fuel for cooking. The majority of rural households use dried cow dung as a cheap and convenient means of cooking and heating. Around 45 per cent of the rural population are not connected to an electricity supply so most households have no other choice than to use biomass as a source of energy.
Medical experts say that due to not being a source of clean fuel, people use such cheap fuel which is seriously damaging to human health, especially women and children at home. Burning such solid fuel causes very high levels of internal air pollution. He says, since cooking is a daily routine and most people use solid fuel, the level of smoke particles emanating from it is much higher than the allowable annual limit for external air pollution.
Air pollution is the second largest cause of premature deaths in Rajasthan. This cost of health in the state is equal to 70 per cent of the state's GDP due to air pollution, which is much higher than the country as a whole. If the concentration of air pollution is low, the life expectancy in Rajasthan may increase by 2.5 years.
Most villagers believe that when cow dung is found easily and free, why should they spend money on buying an LPG connection and gas stove. Apart from this, since it is the job of women to cook food and collect fuel for it, men do not show any interest in investing money in it.
Some states now want to subsidise farmers to purchase machines to remove straw after harvest, or to process machinery after harvest to make it safer. An innovative approach could be to use climate change funds to convert agricultural residues into a resource, using technological options such as converting agricultural waste into biofuels and fertilisers.
This solution is on trial in certain states where the government guarantee to buy all the briquettes made from straw and burn them in power stations in lieu of coal.
Epidemiological studies have clearly revealed that air pollution is directly related to heart diseases and heart attacks. Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that a person often becomes a victim of air pollution in their own home.
The World Health Organisation Household Air Pollution and Health report, states that more than 50 per cent of untimely deaths in children under five are caused by pneumonia. The soot generated due to air pollution in the homes penetrates their lungs as they breathe this is the biggest cause of pneumonia.