As North India Continues To Choke, Air Quality In Chennai, Kolkata Drops To 'Poor' Category
As the Delhi and its neighbouring states are gasping for clean air, high pollution levels were recorded in cities far away from the national capital on November 7. From Kolkata to some of the southern cities such as Chennai and Bengaluru, the air quality hovered somewhere between “poor” and “very poor”.
An Air Quality Index between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51-100 is “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor” and 401-500 “severe”. A figure above 400 poses a risk to people with respiratory ailments and can affect even those with healthy lungs.
On November 7, Kolkata’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded somewhere between 205 and 249 at 3 pm. Of the four stations in Chennai, three recorded the reading of AQI between 214 and 314. In Bengaluru, the air quality was poor with AQI of 330 at BTM Layout.
The air pollution in Chennai rose drastically with AQI of 96 on Sunday to 228 on the next day. Since then the AQI has not dropped below 200.
Till Sunday (November 3) Bengaluru had a “satisfactory” air quality, but the air quality worsened as the week passed by. A similar trend was observed in Kolkata.
Sudden Rise In Air pollution
Poor air quality in the northern states at this point of the year is observed every year. But it is highly unlikely for the south. An official from the Centre Pollution Control Board has blamed the north-westerly winds for carrying the smog from north India to the rest of India. Hindustan Times reported that a cyclonic depression gaining strength over the Bay of Bengal might have contributed to this drift.
A scientist on anonymity from India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the cyclonic storm which is expected to make landfall on November 8 had affected the winds. The scientists noted that the storm is preventing pollutants from dispersing over the Bay of Bengal as it is moving towards the eastern coast.
The official also said that local factors also helped in raising the pollution levels. However, he assured that the situation will improve in some days.
A state Pollution Control Board official said that authorities are taking steps to curb the air pollution in Kolkata by sprinkling water at construction sites. It has also stopped the movement of over 15-year-old commercial vehicles in Kolkata and Howrah. They have also banned coal-based ovens in the roadside food stalls.