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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Avoid outdoor activity, air quality ‘very poor’ after sunset

The air quality index (AQI) of Lucknow went past the 300-mark on Wednesday and was recorded in ‘very poor’ category with experts suggesting those suffering from breathing disorders to stay indoors during rush hour.

lucknow Updated: Oct 23, 2019 22:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
An official explained that a dip in temperature and an unusual increase in vehicular movement during rush hour, contributes to the deteriorating air quality. Image used for representation
An official explained that a dip in temperature and an unusual increase in vehicular movement during rush hour, contributes to the deteriorating air quality. Image used for representation (HT photo)
         

A casual outing in the evening these days can be a health risk. Reason: Steep decline in the air quality of Lucknow after sunset.

The air quality index (AQI) of Lucknow went past the 300-mark on Wednesday and was recorded in ‘very poor’ category.

At 6pm, the AQI was 356 in Talkatora, 344 in Lalbagh and 260 in Aliganj. AQI beyond 300 is categorised as ‘very poor’ and can be hazardous to health if people are exposed to polluted air for a longer duration.

The average AQI of Lucknow was 273 (at 4pm) with PM 2.5 as prominent pollutant.

This decline in AQI during the evening is linked directly with the fall in temperatures and increase in vehicular traffic movement.

Senior metrologist Devesh Singh calls it a regular phenomenon, which is amplified by dense winter atmosphere.

“After sunset, there is a dip in temperature and an unusual increase in vehicular movement as people rush home from offices or go out of the houses to visit the market. Both these factors play a role in depleting the AQI,” explained Singh.

“Gaseous emissions also lead to a rise in pollution. This is why the AQI in Talkatora, an industrial area, is worse than in Aliganj or Lalbagh,” he said.

The AQI of Lucknow has shown a constant decline since the beginning of this month.

While the average AQI in September remained moderately below the 200 mark, it has been above the 250 mark for most days in October.

With rain less likely, the situation is going to remain the same for the entire month. Rains settle down major particulate pollutants thus improving the air quality. “The festive season will also peak in coming days and people with burst crackers that will deplete the air quality further,” said Singh.

Experts suggest that citizens should stay indoors during rush hour, especially those suffering from breathing disorders. “Poor air quality can worsen pre-existing breathing disorders. People with such disorders must take special precautions during this period,” said doctors.