Maharashtra's Aerosol Pollution Level Can Become Sensitive In 2023: Study

It is estimated that in 2023 this level can reach the category of very sensitive

Maharashtra is currently in the worse category in terms of aerosol pollution level. It is estimated that in 2023 this level can reach the category of very sensitive, a study said.

This study was done by Dr Abhijit Chatterjee, Associate Professor at Bose Institute in Kolkata and his PhD Scholar Monami Dutta. Dr Chatterjee has done extensive research on state wise aerosol pollution in India. He presented the national scenario citing trends from 2005 to 2019, different sources and future conditions (2023). This study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Elsevier.

Aerosol optical depth (AOD) is used to assess the pollution status in the atmosphere. The growth of aerocells is considered dangerous. Maharashtra is currently in the Orange Category, which is a sensitive area with an AOD of 0.4-0.5. However, due to the ever-increasing aerosol pollution, the AOD can be more than 0.5, due to which the state can enter the very sensitive (red) zone. High aerosols include particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) of sea salt, dust, sulfate, black and organic carbon.

Reason for pollution

According to the study, the main sources of aerosol pollution in Maharashtra were identified as thermal power plants, burning of solid fuels and vehicular emissions. The sources were assessed through three phases, the first phase from 2005 to 2009, the second phase 2010 to 2014 and the third phase 2015-2019.

Dr Abhijit Chatterjee, the lead author of this study and Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bose Institute, said, “According to our study, the main reason for the increase in air pollution in Maharashtra is the already existing coal-based thermal power plants (TPP). Along with the increase in the demand for electricity, their capacity is also increasing. However, if thermal power plants are installed in the state as before, it will enter the most sensitive area."

"This would mean that the AOD in the state would exceed 0.5, which could result in an increase in the rate of diseases. At the same time, along with a decrease in the potential life expectancy, there may be other health-related problems in people," he said.

The study said that between Phase I and Phase III (2005-2019), emissions from thermal power plants increased from 31 per cent to 39 per cent. The main reason for this is the increase in capacity and dependence on coal-based power generation. During the last few years, aerosol pollution has decreased in cases of burning of solid fuels. It has come down from 24 per cent to 18 per cent, while vehicular emissions have remained at 14-15 per cent for three consecutive phases.

How to safeguard?

The study recommended that Maharashtra needs to reduce its thermal power plant capacity by 41 per cent (10 GW) to move into the Blue Safe Zone. Monami Dutta, the first author of the study and senior research fellow at Bose Institute, Kolkata, said, “Maharashtra is the most affected due to coal-based thermal power plants. During the third phase i.e. 2015 to 2019, the contribution of thermal power plants to air pollution was about 39 per cent. To overcome such a menace, the state government will not only have to stop approving new thermal power plants, but also focus on reducing the capacity of existing thermal power plants by at least 10 GW."

Dutta said, "Aerosol optical thickness is the degree to which aerosols obstruct the passage of sunlight into the atmosphere. Small particles (less than 10 micrometers) present in the atmosphere change the way light is reflected, reaches the ground and is absorbed."

"AOD is measured on the basis of the weakening of light due to the presence of particulate matter. The more PM 2.5 particles in the atmosphere, the more light will be absorbed and the higher will be the AOD. It is measured through remote sensing using satellite," she said.

Tags assigned to this article:
pollution air pollution Aerosol maharashtra


Around The World


Novel Approaches For Anticipating Outcomes In Pregnancies With Foetal Complications

Improved prediction of which pregnancies are likely to result in stillbirth, neonatal death, or extremely preterm delivery will aid in identifying the...

ISKCON's World Holy Name Week And Bhadra Poornima Celebration

The celebration concludes along with over 15,000 Bhagavata Purana Sets distributed ...

Amrita University Unveils Groundbreaking Research Projects During Amma's Birthday Celebration

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) —spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary—was born on 3rd October, 1953 in a remote coastal village in Kerala...

Genetics Helps Explain Childhood Cancer: Study

The findings, which will help with genetic counselling were published in The Lancet Oncology....

The Power Of Mindfulness: A Secret Weapon For Competitive Exam Success

Being fully present when studying, rather than letting the mind wander, can lead to more efficient learning and better recall during exams...

Spiritual Well-Being And Mental Health

Discussing the connection between spiritual well-being and mental health and exploring practices that promote both ...

Quick Connect With BW Wellness

Subscribe Our Newsletter