Six cities in Odisha are among the 16 most polluted cities in India, based on the air quality index. Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Angul, Balasore, Keonjhar and Talcher are the cities in question, all of which have failed to meet the national ambient air quality standards set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
On January 8, each of these cities recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeding 300, classifying them under the “very poor” air quality category.
The CPCB defines an AQI between 301 and 400 as “very poor”, posing risks of respiratory illnesses upon prolonged exposure. Notably, Balasore reported an AQI of 352 on this day, surpassing Delhi, known for its hazardous air quality, where the AQI was 345. Cuttack ranked as the second most polluted city in Odisha with an AQI of 340. Bhubaneswar and Balasore both reported an AQI of 334, while Keonjhar and Talcher registered AQI values of 326 and 304, respectively. Furthermore, Rairangpur and Barbil witnessed AQI values of 300 and 292.
The Odisha State Pollution Control Board has highlighted an alarming level of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air in Bhubaneswar. The AQI value serves as an indicator of the level of air pollution and associated health concerns, with values over 300 representing hazardous air quality.
The primary contributors to air pollution in Odisha include vehicular emissions, road dust, industrial pollution, construction and demolition activities, tree felling, and the impact of greenhouse gases.
This situation poses a serious risk of worsening heart and lung diseases, increasing the likelihood of premature death, and may lead to cardio-respiratory diseases.