In Shivajinagar and Alandi areas, vehicle emissions and construction activities are increasing pollution levels. These two areas have the highest levels of pollution according to air quality data, whereas the rest of the city continue to breathe good air quality since January this year, as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPC) data.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) for the Shivajinagar area was 172 in January, 161 in February, 127 in March, and 93 in April, and was again raised to over 100 in May and June which is above the standard level of 80-100.
Alandi area also recorded a higher amount of pollution between January and June with prominent pollutant as PM 10. In January, the Particulate Matter (PM) 10 level was recorded as 239 micrograms per cubic metre, February it was recorded as 189, March it was 107 and 89 in April. It started rising after mid-April and exceeded the standard limit in May at over 100 micrograms per cubic metre. However, the latest data on June is yet to be updated.
Recently, good rains have brought down the pollutants in many areas in Pune including, Shivajinagar and Alandi. As of Wednesday, June 28, up to noon, the AQI for Shivajinagar was 84 with a ‘satisfactory’ level. On June 27 till 12 pm, the AQI was recorded at 103 ‘moderate’ level with carbon monoxide (CO) as the main pollutant.
In Alandi area, the AQI was recorded as 79 with a ‘satisfactory’ level on both, June 27 and 28 till 12 pm. During the same period, the air quality in other areas is recorded as Pashan (44), Katraj (64), Nigdi (79), and Lohegaon (83). However, the AQI data was not updated about Kothrud and Hadapsar.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality in Pune Wednesday till 1:39 in the afternoon was ‘moderate’ with an AQI of 101. However, the maximum areas in the city recorded lower air pollution.
In Shivajinagar, CO was the major pollutant and according to experts, the major source of this pollutant are cars, trucks, and other vehicles and machinery that burns fossil fuels.
In Alandi, PM 10 has become a prominent source of pollution that is mainly caused by construction, road dust, agricultural waste burning, etc.
BS Murthy, project director, SAFAR- IITM, said, “In Shivajinagar, traffic, and construction activities are major reasons for pollution here and in Alandi, PM 10 seems to be a major source of air pollution. Further observation is needed to determine the cause of air pollution in this area.”
Earlier in September 2022, the city-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) released a report based on the pollution inventory for the Pune district. It highlighted five key pollutants namely PM2.5, PM10, CO, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOX).
As per the source identified by ARAI, about CO – the breakdown is– transport – 61%, industry – 18%, residential –8%, agricultural waste burning – 5%, and the bifurcation for PM 10 is – road dust – 35%, construction and allied sectors – 23%, industry – 14%, transport 10%, agricultural waste burning – 6%, residential – 4%.
Mangesh Dighe, environment officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said, “I am unaware of the air pollution situation in the Alandi area, however, in Shivajinagar, the main reason is Metro construction work and vehicle emissions.”
“Metro work will take some time to complete, but it is important to improve public transportation and ultimately put a positive impact on air quality not only in Shivajinagar but in other areas also,” he said.
“Shivajinagar is also an arterial road where traffic is coming from all directions on a large scale. However, due to the ongoing Metro work, the width of the road is reduced to some extent resulting the traffic congestion, especially during the pick hours,” said Dighe.
Sharmila Deo, senior program associate – air quality, Parisar NGO, said, “Both Shivajinagar and Alandi areas generally show higher levels of pollution. Vehicle emission is high at Shivajinagar, but we have to find the exact source of pollution at Alandi.”