Air pollution back to pre-pandemic levels in Karnataka | Hubballi News – Times of India


HUBBALLI: A study conducted by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found air pollution has returned to, or even exceeded, pre-pandemic levels during the winter season in the five southern states.
Air quality improved dramatically during the nationwide lockdown, but pollution levels steadily rose during the second half of 2020 which coincided with restrictions being eased and economic activity resuming. It wiped out the gains made on the environment front during the lockdown.

The study finds Karnataka has the highest total burden of health costs. Air pollution has spiked in Hubballi, Chikkaballapura, Vijayapura and many other cities after the onset of winter.
Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager, CSE’s Urban Lab team of Sustainable Cities programme told TOI that, generally, winter isn’t harsh in the southern cities.
“Yet pollution build-up has been noted,” Somvanshi said. “Although the average level of PM2.5 for the summer and monsoon months in 2020 was considerably lower than in previous years, PM2.5 levels this winter have risen beyond that of 2019 in most cities. The region cannot rely only on the natural advantage of warmer winters and sea breeze to avoid bad air.”
The analysis is based on publicly available granular real-time data (15-minute averages) from the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) official portal. Somvanshi said the air quality trend does not include investigation of local sources of pollution.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE, said the study dispels the myth about safer air in the south compared to other regions. “Health impacts are nearly equally bad. This demands quicker regional reforms to curb pollution from vehicles, industry, power plants and waste burning,” she said.

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Sagar Biswas

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