Air pollution has more than doubled in some parts of the state capital during the past four months posing serious threats to the residents’ health, said pollution board and health officials on Sunday.
According to the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB), the pollution-intense areas of the city are, Chandpol, Ajmeri Gate, Jhalana, Vishwakarma Industrial Area and Malviya Nagar Industrial Area. Vishwakarma Industrial Area (VKI), however, is the most polluted zone in terms of the particulate matter (see table).
Particulate matter or PM is a compound of small particles, liquid droplets, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. The PM is monitored at the time of measuring air pollution.
The pollution board figures reveal that the presence of the particulate matter (PM10) in these areas has gone up twice the permissible levels due to vehicular pollution and dust caused by tyre-road friction and on-going construction activities feeding fine dust into the atmosphere.
In view of the increasing pollution levels in the city, the state pollution board has decided to reorganize the existing six air pollution monitoring stations and install three new ones by the next month.
Data gathered at the six air pollution monitoring stations at different parts of the city indicate not only are the particulate matter levels exceeding the standard of 100 micrograms, in some places it is well over 300 micrograms (more than double).
In April, the PM10 measured at the VKI area was 332 micrograms, two times higher than the standard permissible limit. Similarly, the pollution at much frequented places such as Chandpol was 326 micrograms in January.
Pollution board officials said that apart from the dust arising from the friction of vehicle tyres, other factors such as the fine dust particles coming from the cement used in construction and during garbage collection also contribute to the pollution levels.
The recent data from the pollution board for these areas have also surpassed the annual average of air pollution in Jaipur for the last six years.
For example, the annual air pollution average of the last 6 years at Chandpol has been 179, 148, 143, 209, 164 and 198 micrograms. However, within the first four months of 2016, even the lowest air pollution level that Chandpol has seen is 274 micrograms, higher than any of the annual averages.
“The immediate cause behind the formation of particulate matter is the burning of substances such as petrol, diesel, emissions from the automobile industry and biomedical waste products. Additional medical superintendent of SMS Hospital and respiratory diseases expert, Ajit Singh, said, “Earlier, the particulate matter used to be found in the upper stratums of atmosphere. But, now because of the increase in burning of these substances, they are forming concentrations in much lower levels, affecting humans directly.”
He said that the symptoms such as shortness of breath, heavy breathing and increased heart diseases among the urban population most often result from the inhalation of the particulate matter. The most common disease is pneumoconiosis, Singh said, adding that they might even cause stomach and lung cancer.
Experts said the easiest way to check air pollution is to switch to the CNG-run vehicles and adopt a green way of life.