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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Here is an important health alert for the elderly, kids, asthmatic and chronic bronchitis patients in the State.

Air quality in Odisha, especially in places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore will take the worst turn on coming Wednesday (December 9).

As per IMD's recently launched air quality model forecast system, the prediction is Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) level in the air of State capital Bhubaneswar will rise to a dangerous range of 200 – 500 microgram/m3 on coming Wednesday (December 9), when the safe limit for PM2.5 in the air is stipulated at mere 60 micrograms per m3.

Not only Bhubaneswar, the air quality is also projected to deteriorate even in the north coastal districts like Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Balasore etc.

Moreover, the model forecasts that even PM 10 concentration will also rise in the State. The range predicted is between 150 – 300 micrograms/m3, when the permissible limit is 100 micro grams/m3.

Why The Air Quality Will Show Deterioration?

An analysis of the model attributes the reasons to the incursion of some pollutants from north India, besides the development of foggy conditions till Friday in the coastal districts, especially in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara etc.

It also indicated that the direction of wind flow to Odisha will be from the north east ( means towards land) and presence of an anti cyclonic air circulation over Odisha and adjoining states are the other major reasons behind, infers the analysis.

Explaining it further, former director IMD, Bhubaneswar, Sarat Sahoo, said this is a regular phenomenon in winter. Because, the layer of mixing depth gets lowered due to low temperature. For which, pollutants generated in the cities get concentrated at lower level.

Real Time Pollution In State Capital Today

The Air Quality Index is said to be moderately polluted today in Bhubaneswar, reveals the Skymet real time data at morning hours.

The air quality is specified as unhealthy in Jagmara, Baramunda and JayadevVihar.

The PM 2.5 is measured at 113-300 micro gram/m3 in the locations, far higher than the safe limit.

What Is PM 2.5 & PM 10?

PM2.5 are pollutant particles having a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometer, which is smaller than width of human air. These fine particles are by-products of vehicular emissions, especially cars, heavy commercial vehicles and Autorickshaws.

PM 10 are fine dust particles having their source of origin from construction sites etc.

Since these pollutants are fine particles they can penetrate deep into the lungs, therefore a high level of PM2.5 concentration is very harmful for human health.

Worth mentioning here is vehicular emission and suspension of fine dust particles in air were highest in the stretches of the capital city like Patia square – Jayadev Vihar square, Baramunda and Laxmisagar, etc.

Any Big Impact?

Note it down. If you observe any unusual irritation in eyes, nose and throat, then it’s a certain case of impact of air pollutants, explains Dr PC Sahoo, former Jt Director, Odisha health department and added that till date no patient has come up with such complaints.

“The salient effect will be on asthmatic and chronic bronchitis patients. Their condition may worsen in such air quality standards,” he added.

Since PMs after being inhaled into lungs via the blood stream can move to other organs, especially heart, heart ailments in elderly people may get aggravated. They may develop irregular heartbeat, which could prove fatal, Sahoo explained.

However, Sahoo said the impact will happen if one stays outdoor for longer duration ( 3-5 hrs). Also, activities like jogging, brisk walking, outdoor exercises, or any such activities in outdoors that demand more air (oxygen) may get impacted by poor air quality.

Therefore, denizens and vulnerable groups need to take precautions. Stay indoors and if going outside is essential, then use respiratory mask compulsorily, if the forecast happens to be true, he observed.

Impact On COVID19?

Research studies had earlier suggested that SARS nCoV2 spreads through aerosol in the ambience of healthcare centers and at crowded places.

Significant here is, as per Sarat Sahoo, lowering of mixing depth layer in winter trap the pollutants.

And as per Dr PC Sahoo, such conditions are definitely conducive for virus transmission, including novel corona virus.

So, to stay safe, mask and social distancing are compulsory, he emphasized.

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