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Kolkata AQI Breaches 200-mark as City Gears Up for Kali Puja

There was no improvement in the atmosphere, with visible haze over the day. The AQI was found above the 100 mark in the range of 118 to 123 at 11am.

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Updated:October 14, 2019, 11:21 AM IST
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Kolkata AQI Breaches 200-mark as City Gears Up for Kali Puja
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Kolkata woke up to a hazy morning on Sunday with visible pollutants in the atmosphere that refused to dissipate even as the day progressed. The air quality index (AQI) of Kolkata, which was relatively "clean" in the six months, surpassed the 200 mark.

The situation was akin at stations in green zones. This has raised worries of how will be the days be, ahead of winters, The Times of India reported.

Early on Sunday, AQI was pretty alarming and has breached the 200 mark. According to West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), the worrisome figures were recorded at the Victoria Memorial Hall and Fort William stations, both are located in the Kolkata's green zone Maidan, known to be the lungs of the metro city.

There was no improvement in the atmosphere, with visible haze over the day. The AQI was found above the 100 mark in the range of 118 to 123 at 11 am.

What was more worrisome is that the AQI was driven by the high rate of PM2.5, the tiniest pollutant, which gets straights into the lungs and then to the bloodstream.

An IMD official said that a high influx of moisture in the air (above 95 percent humidity) trapped the particulate matters in the lower level of the atmosphere without allowing them to escape.

In Kolkata, on Sunday, the air mostly remained above the 150 mark from 7am to 4pm which is three times higher than the safe limits.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Yellow level of AQI comes with moderate health threat including difficulties in breathing among people suffering from asthma and heart ailments.

Experts said that Sunday’s drastic change in the city's atmosphere from the green mark (AQI 0-50) to yellow (AQI 101-200) indicated the beginning of bad days that would gradually peak in the winter, when the air would possibly become unbreathable leading to rise in respiratory ailments.

“Intermittent showers were a big saviour during the Puja. The mammoth automobile population that entered the city was enough to turn the city’s air foul. But some spells of smart showers dissolved the particulate matters. Now that monsoon clouds are retreating fast, the air quality has started declining,” the daily quoted a Central Pollution Control Board official, as saying.

Chairman of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), Kalyan Rudra, expressed concern over the spike of particulate pollution. “We have brought all other pollutants under check. But PM10 and PM2.5 counts go haywire with winter. This year, we hope a series of measures taken by multiple agencies would work,” he said.

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