Pollution dips, Hyderabad breathes easy

Air quality index levels, which improved significantly in city due to lockdown, would do even better this monsoon

By Author  |  Published: 8th Jul 2020  12:22 amUpdated: 8th Jul 2020  12:56 am

Hyderabad: With the Southwest monsoon continuing to be normal, the city is pinning its hopes on the monsoon doing what it does every year – bring the pollution levels down. This year, with the lockdown already bringing down pollution levels by a considerable extent, hope is that the monsoon might make the air even better.

According to data from the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), pollution levels had already dropped in April and May when most of the vehicles were off the roads and most industrial areas remained closed during the lockdown.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in industrial areas such as Balanagar, Jeedimetla, Sanathnagar and Zoo Park had shown drastic changes in the month of May. For instance, the AQI level at Sanathnagar, considered one of the polluted areas in the city, was 103 in January. This has come down to 63 by May. Similarly, the AQI level at the Zoo Park has dropped from 150 in January to 87 in May.

The TSPCB indexes AQI levels from 0 to 50 as ‘good’, 51-100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 as ‘moderate’, 201-300 as ‘poor’, 301-400 as ‘very poor’, and anything ‘above 400’ as ‘severe’.

The change over the last few months courtesy the lockdown, was that most of the industrial areas in the city, which are usually indexed in the ‘moderate’ or ‘poor’ categories, have seen an improvement in air quality and moved up to the ‘satisfactory’ category.

At Balanagar and Jeedimetla, known as industrial hubs for decades, the AQI levels have come down from 126 to 86 and 148 to 96 respectively between January and May. The difference gets all the more pronounced when the levels of May last year are considered. Balanagar had recorded 139 and Jeedimetla 120 in May last year.

As for the role of the monsoon, it is a usual practice that the rains and winds wash the air clean to a large extent. According to officials, from June to September, there will be a considerable improvement in air quality. The figures for June, however, are yet to be made available.

Air quality at Tank Bund improves

One of the busiest corridors in the city, the Tank Bund area too is among the places where the AQI levels have dropped significantly in April and May.

The AQI here, which was 101 in January, dropped to 46 in May. The area, as of now, has been indexed the ‘good’ category, though officials say the relaxation in lockdown norms has seen an increase in traffic and that the area could move to the ‘satisfactory’ or ‘moderate’ category.

Localities such as Nacharam and Rajendranagar are also in the ‘good’ category while areas like Kukatpally, Uppal, Jubilee Hills, Charminar, Paradise, HCU, Abids and Madhapur are in the ‘satisfactory’ category.

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