Over the last week, amongst the capitals of the southern states, Chennai has recorded the most harmful air quality, as per data available on the Central Pollution Control Board's website. Both residential and industrial areas in Chennai have recorded pollution levels higher than similar zones in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Amaravati and Thiruvananthapuram.
TNM scoured through data available from November 4 to November 8 (5 days) to compare the air quality indices between southern states. In all cases, data recorded at 8 am in the morning was noted. In Chennai, the samples taken were Velachery (a residential area) and Manali (largely industrial area). In the course of 5 days Velachery recorded an AQI of 247.5 while Manali recorded an average of 305.75.
The air quality in Velachery therefore was ‘poor’ while Manali’s numbers translate to ‘very poor’ as per the criteria set by the CPCB. When air quality is poor, it causes breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure, whereas very poor air can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.
Next after Chennai on this list is Telangana capital Hyderabad. In Bollaram which is an industrial area, the city records an AQI of 128.8. But more shockingly, Sanathnagar, a residential area where the state pollution control board headquarters is located, recorded more pollution with an average of 206.25 AQI from Monday to Friday.
The pollution at Bollaram can be considered ‘Moderate’, as per CPCB which means the air can cause breathing discomfort to people with asthma, lungs and heart diseases. In Sanathnagar however, the air quality was ‘Poor’ through the week.
In Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru meanwhile, residential area BTM layout recorded an AQI of 197.2 while Peenya, an industrial area recorded 78.6 AQI. At 78.6, the air in Peenya is considered ‘satisfactory’. This could however still mean minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people.
In both Amravati in Andhra Pradesh and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, only one monitoring station exists. While the AQI was recorded to be 54.4 in Amravati over the last week, Thiruvananthapuram’s AQI stood at 48.
As a result, Kerala’s capital was the only city in Southern India to record ‘good’ air quality’.
AQI considers eight pollutants - PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb while calculating the quality of air.