There has been a disturbing rise in the levels of air pollution in Hyderabad, which is putting residents at a major risk. According to statistical data, the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) levels have been increasing steadily in the city. In Secunderabad area alone, the US Embassy and Consulate’s air quality monitor has detected an air quality index (AQI) of 114 on Monday.
This means that there is an increase in the likelihood of symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly. “There has been a profound increase in total number of respiratory issues among the people due to excessive air pollution. This induces asthma and other upper respiratory problems. Apart from vehicular, industrial and environmental pollution, passive smoking is also very harmful as it leads to an increase in environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) levels,” said Dr Subhakar Kandi, consultant pulmonologist at Care Hospital.
Experts explain that aside from lung-related disorders, people are susceptible to health hazards as a result of air pollution. “Air pollution also causes dermatitis where the skin becomes dry and rashes are formed. It also leads to lung and skin cancer. In addition to this, exposure to air pollution increases carboxyhemoglobin levels in the body, which leads to hypertension and heart diseases,” Dr Subhakar said.
Though vehicular pollution amounts to a significant increase in pollution, industrial and environmental pollution levels have also been on the ascent. Old vehicles tend to release a lot more smoke which further pollutes the environment, and garbage disposals lying around only makes things worse for citizens.
“Upper respiratory problems have definitely increased, particularly among children. Because their respiratory system is not fully formed, children are at greater risk while being exposed to air pollution. Traffic constables and truck drivers are also equally susceptible,” added Dr Subhakar.
When contacted, officials from the AP Pollution Control Board (separate departments for TS and AP have not yet been formed after bifurcation) are undertaking various measures to control air pollution in the city. “We have people working in our labs to constantly monitor the situation and ensure things don’t go out of hand. We are regularly conducting checks at some of the key traffic junctions in the city. In addition to this, we are also looking at encouraging CNG buses to make the city environment-friendly,” said an official from APPCB.