Automobiles becoming major contributors for air pollution in Hyderabad City

Air pollution has become a major concern in many big cities and Hyderabad is no exception for that. Generally, industries, automobiles, burning of wood and crop lands are the major contributors of air pollution. In Hyderabad city, the impact of industries and burning of crop lands on air pollution is limited, as most of the industries are located in the city outskirts and the burning of crop lands in outside villages happen very occasionally. However, pollution from automobiles is a continuous process and this has turned out to be the major issue for many breathing problems and other health hazards.

There is a growing concern over deteriorating air quality and excessive rise of pollution in Hyderabad, because of rapid increase in the percentage of privately owned automobiles every year. Some locations in Hyderabad has dangerous air pollutants beyond the acceptable levels especially in the busy areas like Paradise, Madhapur, Chikkadapally, Punjagutta, Charminar, Sanathnagar, Sainikpuri, Kukatpally, Uppal, Nacharam, Jubilee Hills etc. As a matter of fact, everyone knows it is difficult to bring the atmosphere to zero pollution, but to some extent we can limit the air contamination by spreading the awareness among public. As a first step towards it, we have taken initiation to write this article clearly stating the effects, causes and control measures of air pollution.

Possible effects of air pollution :

  • Air pollution causes many health issues to the people, commonly related to breathing and long term exposure can cause hazardous diseases.
  • Air pollution and climate change are interconnected with one another. The main reason for the drastic increase in the temperature levels inside city limits is due to exhaust gases from the automobiles. The gases form a layer above earth surface, and this layer of gases allow incoming sunlight to pass through but trap heat radiated from the earth’s surface. Because of this reason, people of Hyderabad are experiencing rise in temperatures both in summer and winter seasons, that is much higher than the normal average levels.
  • The exhaust gases from the automobile are usually acidic in nature and form acids easily when reacted with water. This is the main reason for acid rains in Hyderabad city during rainy season. These acid rains not only damage plants in our surroundings but easily cause skin diseases if exposed. In Hyderabad city, major traffic junctions like Koti, Abids, Punjagutta, Secundrabad station etc already showed a reduction in the PH value of rain water. (lesser the PH value of rain water the more acidic it is. In general PH of rain water is 5.6).

How different fuels affect air pollution?

  • Catalytic converters are the pollution control devices in automobiles that are used with internal combustion engines, that help in converting toxic pollutants into less toxic by catalyzing an oxidation or reduction reaction. Petrol cars without catalytic converter produce higher level of harmful CO and oxides of Nitrogen, than diesel cars or petrol cars with catalytic converter. As most of the petrol cars are fitted with catalytic convertor they are less responsible for air pollution. Generally, petrol cars produce 120 grams of CO2 for every 1 km.
  • Diesel cars release higher level of NOX and CO which easily form acids when mixed with water. Diesel also releases particulate matter. Weight of CO2 produced in case of diesel is 132 gm for every 1 Km. As most of the petrol cars are being fitted with catalytic converters, the level of CO2 and particle matter produced in diesel is high.
  • Particle matter in diesel fuel is significantly seen in vehicles with a problem in an engine or mixing different petroleum fuels.

Some measures you can follow to reduce air pollution in city limits:

  • In Hyderabad city, nearly 87% of the population own private vehicles like a car or a bike, and some even have multiple vehicles too. Pollution control will never happen if these many vehicles come on to the road every day. Hence, it is every ones responsibility to show some concern for environment and start using public transport at least one or two days per week, so that they reduce pollution to some extent.
  • At traffic junctions vehicles come to a halt, but many of them do not turn off their engines when they are waiting for the signal. This just increases the level of exhaust gases at these places. It is one of the major reasons for reduction in PH value of rain water at the most traffic congested places. So, next time when you halt at a traffic junction, please remember to turn off the engine.
  • CNG gas emits only half portions of the exhaust gases produced by petrol. So if you have a petrol variant, try to install a CNG kit which not only saves money on fuel but also helps in reducing pollution.

Suggested reading:

Hyderabad – Telangana’s Most Air Polluted City
Even Deep Sediments of Hussainsagar Lake are Polluted
Hyderabad, Second Highest in Noise Levels