It is only marginally behind Visakhapatnam in terms of pollution levels. The period of analysis is from 20th November 2020 to 20th November 2021 and the results were compared with both the prescribed air quality standards as referred by WHO and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The report finds that in terms of PM2.5 which is particulate matter of a very fine size, the city had an annual average of a little over 40 points which is higher than NAAQS and WHO annual standards which are at 40 points and 5 points respectively.
In terms of PM 10, the city had an annual average of 75-80 points. The NAAQS and WHO annual standards suggest this pollutant must not exceed 60 points and 15 points respectively. The city however exceeds the national standards by a great margin.
The report further details where exactly the problem points are within the city itself. It may be noted that amongst the six pollution monitoring sites, the highest annual pollution levels were observed in Sanath Nagar, followed by Zoo park and Bolarum both in terms of PM 2.5 and PM 10. In terms of PM 2.5, Sanath Nagar had an annual average of nearly 50 points, much higher than the state average itself. In terms of PM 10, the worst hit was Zoo park, with PM 10 levels exceeding 100!
Vehicular pollution clear culprit
The researchers blame vehicular pollution as the clear culprit which did not abate despite multiple lockdowns in the period of survey. Avinash Chanchal, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India, says, “The data shows that lockdown is not a solution to air pollution. Relatively lesser economic activity and vehicles is also putting us in a dangerous position. Past source apportionment studies by CPCB have indicated that the main contributor of PM2.5 and PM10 is vehicular pollution in Hyderabad. It contributes around 50% of total pollution. We have to prioritize the immediate shift to clean energy and clean transport to stop more damage.”
He further stresses that cities like Hyderabad are heavily focusing on improving infrastructure for private vehicles and not public transport. It may be noted that in the last seven years, the fleet size of the city bus service has fallen by nearly 1000, worsening the pollution crisis.