India | Air quality report from industrial towns in Chhattisgarh raises health concerns

In May 2020 the State Health Resource Center (SHRC) of the state of Chhattisgarh released, with the support of Healthy Energy Initiative India, the Korba Air Quality report that highlights the toxic levels of air pollutants in the cities of Korba, Champa and Raipur.

Results show that in the three towns the concentrations of PM 2.5 (or fine, respirable pollution particles) were between 3.1 and 9.1 times higher than the national standard. The report was featured in the national newspaper Hindustan Times.

Manganese concentrations in eight of the nine samples exceeded the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and reference values, as well as those of the World Health Organization’s (WHO). In all samples, nickel concentrations – which are associated with greater cancer risk – exceeded the WHO guideline, and this was also the case for silicon.

Dr. Prabir Chhaterjee, former executive director of the State Health Resource Center, who led the report, was quoted saying: “The air sampling results show a very concerning level of harmful substances that adversely affect health. Their presence at such high levels shows that there is a significant possibility of chronic health effects.  Dr. Chhaterjee goes on to say: “Multiple studies have shown that there are linkages between PM 2.5 and respiratory diseases and cardiovascular problems.”

This report comes at a time when other global studies are showing strong linkages between air pollution and vulnerability to COVID-19. 

For additional findings from the Korba Air Quality Report, download the full report here. 

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