Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Here are some disturbing news for the residents of Odisha as six cities of the State are now among the 16 most polluted cities in India in terms of air quality index.

The cities- Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Angul, Balasore, Keonjhar and Talcher- have failed to maintain the national ambient air quality standards fixed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). All these six cities registered an Air Quality Index (AQI) of more than 300 on January 8, which comes under the very poor category of air quality.

As per the Central Pollution Control Board, AQI between 301 and 400 is regarded as very poor. it causes respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. 

The AQI in Balasore pipped the National Capital, Delhi which is notorious for its hazardous air quality. While AQI in Delhi was 345, it was 352 in Angul on Monday. Cuttack was the second most polluted city in Odisha with AQI of 340. While Bhubaneswar and Balasore recorded AQI of 334 each, Keonjhar and Talcher registered AQI of 326 and 304 respectively. Similarly Rairangpur and Barbil witnessed AQI of 300 and 292 respectively.

According to the Odisha State Pollution Control Board, Bhubaneswar is recording an alarming level of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air. As per the standard, the higher the AQI value, the greater is 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.

As per reports, the primary reasons for air pollution in Odisha are vehicular emission, road dust, industrial pollution, pollution from construction, demolition work, felling of trees and the impact of greenhouse gases. The worst foggy sky is also one of the reasons for the worst air quality in Odisha.

The situation leads to serious aggravation of heart and lung diseases and increases the risk of premature death. It could also lead to cardio-respiratory diseases. However, the Odisha government is yet to make any action plan to curb the air pollution and create awareness among people about how not to be affected by its ill effects.