Hyderabad air turns unhealthy the morning after Diwali

Hyderabad: Air quality levels in the twin cities plummeted in several areas following Diwali celebrations on October 27. The air monitoring station located at Sanath Nagar registered the worst air quality at a maximum of 720 AQI (Air Quality Index) for 2.5 PM (Particulate Matter). It was closely followed by the monitoring station at Hyderabad US Consulate, which registered a maximum of 462 AQI for 2.5 PM from Diwali evening into the night, finally Hyderabad air unhealthy after Diwali. 2.5 PM, which stands for suspended particulate matter, is an air pollutant that can create health problems, especially to vulnerable individuals.

The city’s average air quality-level fell to 109 in the Air Quality Index, which is classified as ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’ as per AQI data checked at noon today, obtained from Hyderabad US Consulate air monitoring station.

The other air monitoring stations are located at Zoo Park, Bahadurpura, ICRISAT in Patancheru, Bollaram Industrial Area, Hyderabad Central University and IDA in Pashamylaram. Zoo park and Bollaram registered a maximum of 165 in AQI, while HCU and ICRISAT recorded 164 maximum AQI.

K Baburao, pollution analyst and former chief scientist of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, said pollution levels in the city are quite alarming even though it may have been for a day. “It is natural that air quality decreases during Diwali. There will be many chemical contaminations due to the presence of particulate matter and other metals in the air. The presence of sulphur dioxide and nitrates, majorly used in explosives for sound, also add to the pollution. Where will all this go? Mostly into the atmosphere, which reflects in the pollution level,” he added.

Meanwhile, New Delhi has been suffering from poor air quality for the past few weeks, and after Diwali, the levels have stood at 348 at 11.30 am on Monday, as per data obtained from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Another environmental expert opines that while Delhi has several other factors that are contributing to its air pollution levels, Hyderabad’s pollution, although in a different context, needs to be seriously evaluated. WG Prasanna Kumar, environmental analyst and chairman of Mahatma Gandhi National Council of Rural Education (MGNCRE), said air-quality levels and air pollution needs to be continuously checked and not just discussed only during special days like Diwali. “If it sustains for a longer period, it would make a difference in the overall air-quality level. We used to have 6-7 hours of Diwali before, but now that has reduced. Instead of blaming people for bursting crackers for a day, efforts should be taken throughout the year to keep the air quality under check,” he added.

Several netizens also took to Twitter to draw comparisons between Hyderabad and Delhi’s pollution problem. The news is all about Hyderabad air unhealthy after Diwali.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

2 comments on "Hyderabad air turns unhealthy the morning after Diwali"

  • The report presented only relating to particulate matter but the real issues in Dipawali are SO2, NOx and noise pollution. In fact SO2 levels were brought down drastically with fuel technology. This goes beyond 1000% on deepavali day. This causes health problems to children and older people. Yesterday at 9 pm I saw the smoke with sulphur smell around my house, though I did not burnt crackers. The Supreme Court allowed to fire the crackers between 8 and 10 pm but people started from the afternoon and went beyond 12 pm. So, nobody bothere on the impact of pollution on the neighbouring people.

    The temperature inversion layer that fiorms in winter months help concentration of pollution below this layer. Even with the same pollution levels, the concentration is higher in Delhi with the inversion layer near to ground but it is not so in Hyderabad.

    One day — to inject health hazards one day with high concentration is enough over longer days with mild concentrations. Unfortunately to serve the business interrest they put this type of arguments.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  • Here is a mail sent to CP of Cyberabad on 24th October 2019 [no acknowledgement or response] on the subject: Few observations on traffic related issues for appropriate remedial action [though they are not new]:

    Dear Sir,

    I am an environmentalist working on water bodies, pollution and traffic related issues for the last two decades. When CV Anand was CP/Cyberabad, they wanted to adapt Osmansagar & Himayatsagar and presented a big plan to develop around these lakes. I brought to his notice the real dangers with that project. He was convinced and withdrew from the project. This year under heavy rains the inflows are practically nil in to the two drinking water lakes Himayatsagar & Osmansagar with uncontrolled illegal activities. This shows the state of affairs in Hyderabad and its surroundings. Government and government departments forget the fact on what we read in school books “Health is Wealth” but looking for “Wealth” at the cost of “Health”.
    Governments turned festivals as money spinning activities for the businessmen & government departments at the cost of environment and vulnerable people from all walks of life. Vinayak Chathurdhi runs into thousands of crores business. It not only causes air, noise & water pollution but also reducing the water holding capacity of water bodies that help in causing Urban Floods and thus traffic vows. Also, this makes city filthy and roads unusable.
    Dipawali is another festival causes air and noise pollution – instant high pollution levels cause severe health hazards for children and aged people. Though at huge burden on vehicle users governments introduced vehicle and fuel technologies to bring down pollution per vehicle more particularly SO2 levels; but on Dipawali day SO2 goes up beyond 1000%; NOx goes beyond 200%; RSPM goes beyond 60% over the base values. Business houses talk like “it is one day affair why you environmentalists make hue & cry”? They mint money so they make such statements and government departments go hand in hand with such people. Here nobody bothered to implement Court directions. They make hue and cry only when something goes wrong. In all those police department is a mute spectator!!!
    Traffic police are eager to book somebody for traffic related violations. Also government makes rules every now and then in that direction under the some pretext and at the same time government create avenues to commit such offenses’.
    One of the major issues is drunk and drives and drug addiction. When the government for profit running liquor shops with facilities like bars [legal & illegal] even along the main busy roads; and converting water bodies surroundings under the disguise of beatification as addas for anti-social activities that includes drugs, police department acts as mute spectator. This way government is corrupting younger generations to meet their selfish interests. Then, why police department is so much enthusiastic to book such people. Why not book the concerned government departments who were behind such issues and ask the government stop those.
    In 2000, APPCB/Transport Department issued a GO to stop vehicles older than 15 years flying on the city roads, bureaucrats got it withdrawn as most of the vehicles used by government departments come under that!!! Police look at PUC but rarely look at adulterated fuel sale [domestic waste is burnt all around the urban sprawl] even though government submitted under action plan to Supreme Court in 2003 they will stop this menace by December 2004. Adulterated fuel use & open burning of garbage raised the pollution levels by 30-50%. The air pollution problem aggravates in winter with the urban heat-island effect. Few suggestions to reduced traffic snarls:
    • The main problems in the traffic have been created by police department only. For example, suddenly every now and then change the traffic flow, for example in Begumpet – Metro Office stretch. This in fact instead making smooth flow creating congestion as two lanes traffic merge at one point with criss-cross. Criss-crossed at merging create more problems – some go on to the bridge and others may not.
    • The other important issue is in non-commercial and residential areas running commercial activities. This not only causes traffic problems but also pollution problems. Look at for example Film Nagar. It is filthy, parking and shops on either side of the narrow roads. In fact government allocated lands for building houses and provided lands for studies under 33 year lease [some sold them]. Yet they are destroying the privacy in the neighbouring Jubilee Hills through “commercial activities” such as film suiting, TV serials suiting, establishment of film offices, etc. through unlimited number of vehicles haphazard parking on roads and on footpaths in lanes & bye-lanes causing innumerable hardships to residents. Sometimes there won’t be a way to go out for the residents in emergency cases also. In my own case [we are senior citizens] I brought to the notice of Police Department but nothing happened. Things are going as usual.
    • Police depart permits the film suiting on already congested main roads with heavy traffic, for example Road no. 78 of Jubilee Hills, – traffic police put a board 35 kmph –, and thus parking in bye-lanes creating nuisance to residents.
    • Also establishing offices in rented houses with huge traffic causing inconvenient to residents. People who are renting houses and purchase cars rarely think whether they have sufficient parking place in their houses or not. Many think with poor ethics footpaths/roads are meant for parking.
    • The main roads footpaths are used for running food stalls and other venders. This is creating the problem for pedestrian movement. People coming to those venders park their vehicles on the roads/footpaths. Let the government identify some piece of land for such people without obstruction smooth flow of vehicles and pedestrian users. A classic case is Road No. 80 of JBH.
    Appeal: Please do something on such issues. Though I made the reference of Film Nagar, it is also true in high tech city zone or any other part of Cyberabad.

    With Regards

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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