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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 9* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Ufa air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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Good 9 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Good 24 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 32 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Good 10 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Good 6 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 12|
Good 7 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 13|
Good 4 AQI US
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Ufa is a city located in the Republic of Bashkortostan, one of the federal subjects in Russia. Ufa is the largest city of this republic, and finds itself lying between both the Ufa and Belaya rivers, being home to a sizeable population of over 1 million inhabitants. This number was taken from a census conducted in 2010, and will thus have grown considerably since then.
It has a famous history regarding its founding, having been considered to be a fort site that was constructed by Ivan the terrible in 1574. Nowadays, it finds itself with a large economy based primarily around the manufacturing of chemical products, oil refinery, as well as various mechanical engineering industries. Furthermore, there are a number of higher learning facilities within the city, all factors that would draw more people into the city, both for work and employment, as well as education. Whilst these all play a large part in the increased development of the city as well as the improvement of life quality, they can sometimes have a detrimental effect on the quality of the air, due to the large scale anthropogenic movement that takes place.
In early 2021, Ufa had a PM2.5 reading of 6.1 μg/m³ on record, showing a very good quality of air in the month of March. This would put Ufa into the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal for the best quality of air at 10 μg/m³ or less, showing that the air measurement at this particular time is mostly free from accumulations of smoke, haze and other air contaminants. Whilst this is subject to change, and certain ‘pollution hotspots’ such as busy roads or industrial areas can cause the readings to spike significantly, as it stands with its current reading, Ufa has a very good quality of air.
As with any city that sees a growing population and infrastructure coupled with the mass movement of people, there are a number of related polluting sources occurring. One of the main and most persistent ones, not just within Ufa but all cities across the world, would be that of vehicle emissions. With a population of over a million people, there would be tens of thousands of vehicles on the road at any given time, with large amounts of cars, motorbikes and other smaller vehicles all giving out large amounts of chemical pollutants and hazardous particulate matter.
To compound this situation, in Ufa, and indeed many cities across Russia, many older and aged vehicles find themselves still in use, some still acting as bygone relics from the soviet era, although this is more common in rural areas. These aged motors, with their low quality combustion processes, can put out far more noxious pollution as well as leaking large amounts of oil vapors, which contributes further to the pollution levels in Ufa. Other sources of pollution would be the burning of firewood and other materials during the colder months, as well as increased consumption of energy for the heating of both homes and businesses, once again more prevalent during the winter period.
Other common sources also include construction sites and road repair areas, both of which can release far more dangerous particulate matter and toxic metals than many people are aware of, particularly when these sites are poorly maintained (as an example, uncovered piles of sand or other debris can leak large amounts of fine particles into the air).
With many of the main causes of pollution in Ufa discussed, it can be followed by listing out the different pollutants found in the air that the aforementioned sources emit. The main ones that see their release from vehicles would be nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which can contribute to instances of acid rain, as well as being highly irritating to the lining of the respiratory tract and lungs, able to trigger off conditions such as asthma.
Other pollutants stemming from combustion processes, as seen in factory areas or even wood burning stoves and fireplaces, would be ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), both of which are created from the incomplete combustion of both fossil fuels as well as organic materials such as firewood. This can be lessened in homes by using properly maintained woodstoves as well as only feeding them dry, seasoned wood.
Some examples of VOC's and other chemicals that would be emitted from these burn sites would be ones such as formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene and methylene chloride, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and acrolein. These are all highly dangerous to human health, and particularly easy to respire due to a majority of them having a volatile nature that allows them to remain in a gaseous state even at much lower temperatures.
Some health risks that may arise from the breathing of all the aforementioned pollutants, as well as excessive exposure for those who live in areas that see a higher concentration of air pollution (such as near a busy road or industrial facility) would include a variety of different ailments across many of the bodies systems.
Short term exposure can lead to dry coughs, chest pain, triggering of asthma as well as nausea or vomiting, if exposure is severe enough. Other more chronic or terminal problems would be ones such as lung cancer, common amongst those who breathe large amounts of carcinogenic materials such as fine silica particles or black carbon. Excessive inhalation of these particles can also lead to damage or scarring of the lung tissues, which besides reducing full lung function, can make an affected individual more susceptible to further respiratory ailments such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.
Whilst there are no portions of the population that are exempt from the damaging effects of pollution exposure, there are those that are at a particular predisposition to developing serious health conditions from breathing polluted air.
These include the elderly, young children, pregnant mothers, those with compromised immune systems or preexisting health conditions, as well as those who display a hypersensitivity towards certain chemicals.