Hyderabad: Most of Hyderabad can breathe easy now, as the levels of particulate matter, i.e. microscopic particles suspended in the air, have come down in July. Between the first, second and third weeks of July, the levels of particulate matter dropped steadily across the city, according to an air quality report by the Telangana State Pollution Control Board.
This, according to experts, is due to the considerable amount of rain the city saw in the last couple of weeks
“Rains bring down the particles to the ground and when it rains, with the wet conditions, the particulate matter levels come down to an extent,” environmentalist Dr WG Prasanna Kumar said.
The particulate matter, classified as PM10 and PM2.5, can cause various health issues, as city-based doctor Lakshmi Tejaswi points out: “When inhaled, the microscopic particles can trigger asthma and other breathing issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
The reduction in the level of these particles can also imply a decreased chance of respiratory issues. The levels of these particles, measured in µg/m3, are monitored by the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) and State Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (SAAQM) at various places in the city.
Out of the six NAMP stations, five places showed reduction in PM10 levels, with the one at Balanagar registering the highest difference. The PM10 levels at the NAMP station there dropped from 133 to 62 between the first and third weeks of July. Only the NAMP station at Jubilee Hills showed an increase from 57 to 86. Charminar also registered a major reduction, from 101 in the first week of July to 43 in the third week.
Of the 12 SAAQM stations, the one at Madhapur showed the highest reduction, from 73 to 30. All the other stations showed a decrease as well.
The PM2.5 levels were measured at three NAMP stations and out of the three, the one at Charminar showed a marginal increase from 17 to 19 between the first and second weeks of July but in the third week, the level came back to 17. Paradise and Jeedimetla showed a decrease in those levels as well.
What is Particulate Matter?
Particulate Matter is a mixture of microscopic dust, soot, metals, smoke, nitrates and sulphates etc. that is suspended in the air.
To determine the air quality in any place, the levels of various pollutants are taken and combined to get the Air Quality Index (AQI). The lesser the pollutants, the better the AQI and among various pollutants, microscopic particles are also considered. These are called PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 is particulate matter that is 10 micrometers or less in diameter and PM2.5 particles are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
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