Cities form the breathing apparatus of a country. They are the epicenters of urbanization and development. After the beginning of globalization, the number of these urban centers rose drastically and exponentially.
People began migrating to these in large numbers because they offer better lifestyles and employment prospects. However, everything comes with a price. Cities contribute substantially to the emissions that cause an increase in air pollution.
Incidentally, Chennai is the safest among the four Indian metro cities when it comes to the problem of air pollution.
Apart from the geographical advantage of being a coastal city that aids in faster vertical mixing, Chennai is also very responsive and prompt when it comes to dealing with the rising concentration of pollutants.
For instance, there was a drastic dip in Chennai's air quality in October 2017. The air quality index rose to a staggering value of 313 along with hazy skies, much to the surprise of the locals. The officials were quick to notice this. They devised an action plan and implemented it in no time, including steps like shifting bus depots out of city limits, imposing a green tax on older vehicles, etc. Thus, the air quality improved and retreated to safe levels in less than 3 weeks!
You can know whether the air around you is clean or not by knowing the air quality index of your location. It will give you an idea about the levels of air pollutants in the ambient air.
Air Quality Index (AQI) is a cumulative numerical value that indicative of air quality. It is computed through air models or monitors to communicate the aggregate concentration of various pollutants in the air. Therefore, the higher the AQI score, the higher the level of air pollution.
A city contains several local air quality monitoring stations depending upon the area, population, and accessibility. These stations continuously monitor the concentrations of various air pollutants. Generally, there are 8-10 monitoring stations in a big city and one station each for small cities.
There are nine air quality monitoring stations in Chennai.
Air pollution results when a city entraps the pollutants in the lower layer of the atmosphere. The emissions that cause air pollution contain a percentage of greenhouse gases as well. It may result in an increasing trend in the average temperature of the city. Pollutants like CO2 contribute to global warming, while the oxides of nitrogen and sulphur cause acid rain. The increased concentration of particulate matter causes smog that deters visibility.
Pollution can cause severe damage to public health as well as the infrastructure of the city. Thus, air pollution can severely alter the functioning of a city.
|AQI values||Air Quality is||health effects could be|
People are no longer exposed to any health risk.
Acceptable air quality for a healthy adults but still pose threat to sensitive individual.
Poor air quality can affect health issues such as difficulty in breathing.
Toxic air can provoke health difficulties expecially to the young kids and elderly people..
Breathing polluted AQI may lead to chronic health issues.
AQI exceeding 400 is highly unacceptable to human- can lead to premature death.
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