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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With the dense to very dense fog going to fog over Odisha till Monday, it’s the time to protect one from getting ‘smog’-ged over. The air quality forecast for the State looks very grim. Smog in Odisha is predicted to get aggravated from tonight and will continue so till tomorrow.

In order to remain on the safe side, know the hours when the smog scenario in Odisha will see deterioration.

Real-Time Air Pollution In Capital City

The Air quality index today at Jayadev Vihar today evening (6:30 pm) is 308, which means the air is hazardous. As per Skymet, the mask is must for the sensitive age-groups. In Jagamara, the AQI is 190, which means very unhealthy.

As per IITM forecast, the deterioration will continue to attain the peak tonight.

Forecast Details

As per the forecast by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the coastal, northern and few places in the central and western Odisha will dip to the poor category from the six hours in the evening of today and will remain so till the eight in the morning on Tuesday (January 19).

The watch out districts is Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khordha, including Bhubaneswar, parts of Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack Ganjam and Dhenkanal.

And the Smog timing is: From 6 PM on January 17 to 8 AM on January 19. The peak smog hours predicted is: From 7 PM on January 17 to 2 AM on January 18, which means the State will be witnessing the peak smog (242 micrograms/m3) condition tonight.

On January 18, Morning hours, the PM 2.5 level in Bhubaneswar Air is predicted at 175-191 micrograms/cubic meter. However, the PM 2.5 in the air will dip to around 102 microgram/m3 by the nine hours in the morning of Tuesday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board guidelines on AQI, only a PM2.5 level of around 100 microgram/m3 will be called satisfactory.

The IMD air quality forecast shows that the PM2.5 level in Odisha will remain in the range of 250-500, which is called very poor category as per the AQI norms (see the image below).

How Smog Is Formed?

When the automobile smoke exhausts like Carbon monoxide, other gaseous pollutants, dust etc. get trapped in fog, they form “smog”. Therefore, smog is a mixture of the above-said pollutants and fine particulate matters (PM2.5).

Why Smog Is Harmful?

“When one inhales, the smog pollutants enter the lung. It’s like consuming 200 cigars. They are very harmful to people with respiratory disorders like Acute Respiratory Syndrome (ARI). Larger exposure to smog may increase mortalities related to the respiratory diseases,” cautioned Dr PC Sahoo, former CDMO at Capital Hospital.

The Vulnerable Lot

The children and elderly populace need to take extra care during smog time. But, as per doctors, asthmatics in all age-group will be the worst hit as the episodes of asthma attacks will rise due to smog. So protective mask cover is necessary, they emphasised. Moreover, ones who have a history of cardiovascular (heart) disease or bronchial disease have to avoid smog hours.

Smog Exposure Consequences

Long-time exposure will lead to chest irritation, coughing, eye diseases, pneumonia and lung cancer. One may have symptoms of headache and wheezing also.

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