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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 57 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Coimbatore is currently 3 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Monday, Nov 27|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 129 AQI US
|Tuesday, Nov 28|
Moderate 89 AQI US
|Wednesday, Nov 29|
Moderate 69 AQI US
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 1|
Good 45 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 61 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 69 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 73 AQI US
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Coimbatore is a city found in Tamil Nadu, an Indian state in the southern region of the country. Also known as Kovai or Koyambatoor, it is a city that has a significant presence in the region, being the second largest city in the state, as well as being a huge manufacturer and exporter of goods such as jewelry, poultry, car parts and cotton. Whilst it already experienced a large amount of industrial growth in the 19th century, it has seen a revitalized boom in its urban industrialization, having been selected as one of India's 100 smart cities.
With a rise in industrial areas as well as a rise in the population number (with a count of some 1.6 million inhabitants, having last been counted as part of a census taken in 2011, and as such the population number will have grown exponentially since then), there is also a subsequent elevation in pollution levels. Whilst this growth in economy is contributing to an increased quality of life for the population of Coimbatore, it also brings with it a myriad of air pollution issues, the causes of which will be discussed in short.
In early 2021, Coimbatore was recorded with PM2.5 readings as high as 58.2 μg/m³, a reading that would put it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. As the name suggests, this indicates a highly detrimental level of air pollution, and whilst there were numbers on record that sank lower, a majority of the readings were at 50 μg/m³ or above, making Coimbatore a city that has some fairly serious pollution issues that it could certainly stand to improve.
Coimbatore as a city is subject to many different sources of pollution, ones that afflict many cities and states throughout India, with the most significant causes often remaining the same wherever you go, with only slight variations depending on the urban topography as well as other geographical features (such as forested areas that are prone to the occasional fire, whether naturally occurring or manmade).
One of the main causes of air pollution in Coimbatore comes from the ever present use, or rather overuse, of vehicles. Countless numbers of cars, motorbikes and other small vehicles would be populating the cities roads at any given time, putting out large amounts of exhaust fumes that contain dangerous chemicals and hazardous particulate matter. To compound this issue, many of these vehicles are significantly aged and have motors that are well beyond their best years. This presents a problem because these aged vehicles tend to leak far more noxious oil vapors and chemicals due to the poor combustion process taking place within.
Other pollution sources include prominent ones such as factory and industrial area emissions, the burning of firewood, as well as of refuse and other waste materials. Construction or demolition sites, as well as road repairs or inadequately paved roads are also prominent sources of dangerous particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10 and beyond), a fact that many people are not so often cognizant of, but when observed, they can put out huge amounts of finely ground harmful materials for the general population to respire.
With PM2.5 levels going as high as 58.2 μg/m³, and higher during other periods of the year (namely January, when the PM2.5 count seems to skyrocket across many major cities in India), there would be a vast amount of possible negative side effects possible to those who are exposed, or suffer from excessive exposure to pollution. Some health issues would include ones such as irritation to the eyes, mouth, nose and ears, as well as aggravation of the skin resulting in possible rashes or other dermal conditions. Nausea and vomiting can also present itself, alongside chest pains, coughing and respiratory infections.
Cancer rates will often correlate significantly with the pollution level, due to the carcinogenic nature of many chemical pollutants found in the air. Along with this, cardiac conditions such as ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, angina and arrythmias may present themselves, alongside the usual array of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema, with general scarring and damage sustained to the lung tissue also occuring.
Whilst all reaches of the population are subject to the negative and often debilitating effects of excessive pollution (with even young healthy adults succumbing to certain conditions when enough chemical pollutants are respired), there are certain demographics that are even more at risk, due to a number of reasons, but usually pertaining to their health condition. One of these groups would be the elderly population, who are particularly vulnerable to the respiratory problems that pollution can bring about, with these conditions sometimes having grave or terminal effects on individuals.
Other groups include young children, who during their vital developing years can be adversely affected by pollution to the point that it can cause cases of allergies to present themselves, alongside other conditions such as asthma or other forms of pulmonary damage, which can turn into lifelong conditions if not addressed quickly enough. The damage to lung tissue can also result in stunting of physical development, alongside neurological impairments when exposure is particularly excessive (also dependent on the types of pollution taken in).
Other vulnerable groups include ones such as those with preexisting health conditions, particularly of the cardiac or respiratory variety, or those with conditions that cause a compromised immune system, often resulting in hypersensitivity towards chemicals as well as increased health problems arising as a result of exposure. Pregnant mothers are also a particularly vulnerable demographic due to the extremely adverse effects that can occur to an unborn child when the mother is exposed to excessive pollution (with cases of premature birth, miscarriage and birth defects all being possible).
In order to reduce its pollution levels, as it is doing in its move forward to become one of India's selected smart cities, there are a number of different initiatives that can be put into place to drastically reduce the level of PM2.5 and other contaminants in the air. These include ones such as the removal of heavily aged vehicles off of the road, as well as reducing the amount of lower quality fuels that are allowed to be used in vehicles (namely, introducing stricter road emission standards and removing offending sources).
Other initiatives would include the imposition of emission caps on factories, power plants and other businesses that put out any type of smoke or haze based on possible combustion sources taking place. If these clean air caps are broken, fines and charges can be placed on the offending sources, as well as threats of closure, a heavy incentive to get large businesses and even individuals to comply in the effort to reduce the local pollution levels in Coimbatore.