Mrunal Manmay Dash

At least six towns in Odisha registered an Air Quality Index (AQI) of more than 300 at 4pm on January 7, which comes under the very poor category of air quality.

the AQI in Balasore pipped the National Capital, Delhi which is notorious for its hazardous air quality.

Of the towns, Balasore topped the chart with an AQI of 334. Similarly, Cuttack had 320, Baripada had 316, Bhubaneswar had 311, Keonjhar had 314 and Rairangpur had an AQI of 308 yesterday afternoon.

On the other hand, Angul had an AQI value of 300 and Talcher had an AQI value of 251. Delhi's AQI was registered as 333 yesterday afternoon.

Air pollution in Odisha is in bad shape due to factors such as heavy vehicular movement and construction work. Environmentalists are also of the opinion that rapid industrialization, felling of trees, and the impact of greenhouse gases have led to an increase in environmental pollution.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the State Pollution Control Board had said a few days ago that such a situation is arising due to construction work.

AQI is a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.

AQI 0 to 50 (Good)

Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

AQI 51 to 100 (Moderate)

Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

AQI 101 to 150 (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups)

Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.

151 to 200 (Unhealthy)

Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

201 to 300 (Very Unhealthy)

Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.

AQI 301 and higher (Hazardous)

Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected