VIJAYAWADA: With the state completing two months of the lockdown period , the Air Quality Index (AQI) has witnessed a massive improvement across Andhra Pradesh.
Around 90% of the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring stations have rated air quality levels as ‘good’.
The latest AQI data taken on May 18 shows that pollution levels came down below 50 across Vizag city, Tirumala, Velagapudi and Rajahmundry.
Speaking to TOI, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board ( APPCB ) scientist BV Prasad said the major reason behind depreciating pollution levels was lack of vehicular movements and construction activity. “The PM 2.5 or PM 10 particles predominantly rise due to vehicle pollution and also with construction activity coming to a standstill we can see that the dust pollution is pretty much less,” Prasad told TOI.
Prior to the lockdown, the AQI levels across Vijayawada, Vizag, Tirupati, Amaravati and Rajahmundry used to be rated between moderately polluted to satisfactory. This time, none of the CAAQM stations has breached the satisfactory levels in the last two months.
However, officials explained that it would only take a matter a two days for original pollution levels to be restored once the lockdown is lifted.
“The buffer time for pollution levels to come down could be evaluated once in every 10 days and we see a gradual decline in particle matter. While decreasing pollution might take time but pollution increase will take only a matter of two days once the lockdown is completely lifted,” Prasad added.
In terms of water pollution, APPCB officials said there has not been much of a difference in the last two months as the domestic sewage linked to the rivers continues to remain the same.
“Since the rivers in AP doesn’t have any industrial pollution involved, the lockdown did not contribute in improving the water quality in the state. Places like Tungabadra in Kurnool, Krishna river in Vijayawada, Godavari river in Rajahmundry side does have few domestic sewage connections leading to the river. The pollution levels remain the same,” Prasad added.
Officials said that AQI could not be recorded properly in Vijayawada as the station is being shifted to Pinnamaneni Polyclinic Road where power connection is yet to be attached. However, they acknowledged that the last reading during the early stages of the lockdown did rate it as ‘satisfactory’.