Visakhapatnam: On Bhogi the air quality index in most parts of the city reached hazardous levels, with particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and particulate matter (PM) 10 levels going up. And the sudden dip in temperature only compounded the problem.
Bhogi is a ritual in which old household articles are burnt in a bonfire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Although, GVMC officials had warned the public against celebrating Bhogi on the streets and burning wood, the ritual continued unabated in most of the parts of the city.
As per the real-time monitoring of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), PM 2.5 at GVMC station was at 275mg/m3 at 6 am on Tuesday while PM 10 was 256 mg/m3. The other pollutants, CO, NO2, SO2, also saw a drastic rise deviating from their normal values.
When the air quality index is poor it can cause breathing discomfort among people who are exposed to it for longer hours. The permissible concentration of PM 2.5 particles is 40 µg/m3 (annual average) and 60 µg/m3 (24-hour average) in industrial, residential, rural or other areas, as per Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), while the permissible limit for PM 10 particles is 60µg/m³ (annual average).
Speaking to TOI, a morning walker, Srinivas, at the RK beach road said, “When I went for my morning walk, I had difficulty breathing and seeing owing to the smog. The pollution was so high that it lead to irritation in my eyes.