Hyderabad: It is not just nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that causes pollution in the city. A new study claims to have found high levels of toxic benzene in Hyderabad’s air.
It says that the city now faces the challenge of a multi-pollutant crisis. And not just Hyderabad, but tier-II cities in the state such as Guntur and Vijayawada too are experiencing high levels of pollution.
The study was commissioned by the Centre for Science and Environment and studied pollution levels in major cities across the country. Although it didn’t rank cities on the basis of pollution, it said Hyderabad is facing an unprecedented multi-pollutant crisis.
Levels of particulate matter in areas like Uppal, Balanagar, Charminar and its surrounding areas, and Paradise junction have been officially classified as ‘critical,’ while it remains ‘extremely high’ in other areas like Tarnaka.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, CSE, who headed the study, said, “In several areas of Hyderabad, we found that levels of particulate matter exceeded the set standards. Levels of PM 2.5 are very high in many areas in the city.” PM 2.5 is particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micro-metres which can penetrate the exchange areas of the lungs.
Levels of toxic air pollutants like benzene are also high in the city. “We have noticed high levels of toxic gases like benzene in some parts of the city. It is multi-pollutant crisis for Hyderabad,” Roy Chowdhury said.
According to the study, about 47 per cent of the air pollution in the city is caused by vehicles, while the remaining can be attributed to other sources like industrial pollution. The report said that Hyderabad would need the area of about 100 football fields every year to create parking space for the inflating amount of vehicles.
Bad roads have also contributed to air pollution. The AP Pollution Control Board has recorded dust pollution levels to be 87 micrograms per cubic metre, exceeding the permissible level of 60 micrograms per cubic metre.
The study also said that smaller cities are now becoming more polluted. “We surveyed several smaller cities in South India and it is alarming to note that even these cities are now facing a crisis. Smaller cities like Guntur, Vijayawada, Salem, Dharwad and so forth are at the crossroads now,” Roy Chowdhury said.
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