Over the past few years, the air pollution levels in Vizag have been a cause for worry. With an expanding belt of industries and vehicular density increasing by the day, the city has seen the air quality levels dip drastically. Making matters worse, Vizag city has been declared as one of the non-attainment cities. The cities which fail to meet the requirements of National Ambient Air Quality Standards over a period of 5 years for Particulate Matter and NO2 are considered as non-attainment cities. And to ensure that the condition doesn’t deteriorate, an action plan has been chalked out to improve the air quality in the city. Committees comprising representatives of the Pollution Control Board, municipal corporation, RTO, and traffic police are said to be working together to achieve the goal.
One of the major problems of urbanisation is increasing vehicular density. In Vizag, there are about ten lakh registered vehicles running and approximately 90,000 new vehicles are registered every year. Harmful pollutants like Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), particulates, Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), and lead, released due to the combustion of the fuels, do no good to the air quality. It may be noted that Vizag has 9 ambient air monitoring centres, at various locations in the city like Gnanapuram, Autonagar, Madhavadara, and the Zoo area to check the levels of these pollutants in the air.
While a switch to electric or battery-operated vehicles is considered to be a great alternative for reducing vehicular pollution and promoting energy conservation, Vizag might still be staring at a long road before it dons an eco-friendly look on the vehicular front. Two- Wheelers can be charged at household portals, but as four-wheelers require about 440W, installing common charging points is necessary for easy handling of the electric vehicles. The city awaits the government to approve such electrical charging points.
In addition to vehicular pollution, other causes for the increase of Particulate Matter in Vizag include construction works, industries, burning of solid wastes like tyres and plastics among others. If the stack emissions from the industries exceed the prescribed limits, notices are sent to the respective organisations to abide by the regulated limit. Furthermore, industries are directed by the Pollution Control Board, GVMC, and VUDA to plant more trees, maintaining greenery around their vicinity.
As excessive effusion of dust particles and So2, tend to have adverse effects on the health of the citizens and lead to pulmonary diseases, the general public is advised to practise pool sharing with regular and neat maintenance of their vehicles that will help in curbing the levels of air pollution in Vizag.