Kandy, a city renowned for its cultural heritage and historical significance, holds a secret that lurks beneath its charming facade—air pollution. This invisible menace threatens the well-being of its residents and visitors alike. In this article, we embark on an eye-opening journey to explore the depths of air pollution in Kandy, uncovering its origins, consequences, and potential remedies.
Is Kandy Affected by Air Pollution?
While Kandy has been fortunate enough to escape the immediate repercussions of a major pollution incident that occurred near Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo, the long-term impact on the environment and livelihoods remains uncertain. A ship carrying chemicals and plastic materials caught fire, wreaking havoc on the coastal region. Although Kandy was shielded from the direct aftermath due to its inland location, the indelible consequences have yet to fully unfold.
According to the US Air Quality Index (AQI), Kandy enjoys relatively good air quality, with a reading of 37 in early June. This signifies that the general public can breathe a sigh of relief without worrying about the adverse effects of air pollution. However, it is important to note that Kandy has faced periods of elevated pollution levels in the past, rendering the city susceptible to similar challenges in the future.
The Culprits Behind Air Pollution in Kandy
In 2020, Kandy recorded an annual average PM2.5 level of 21.9 μg/m³. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and causing detrimental health effects. Although PM2.5 contributes relatively less to the overall air quality index, it serves as a significant indicator of air pollution and its potential dangers.
Kandy’s moderate rating in terms of air pollution can be attributed to several sources. Vehicular emissions, industrial activities, and power plant operations all play a part in polluting the air. Moreover, road dust, burning organic matter, construction sites, and road repairs further contribute to the overall particle pollution within the city.
Discerning the Hidden Air Pollutants in Kandy
Beyond the pollutants considered in the US Air Quality Index calculation, Kandy wrestles with the presence of additional harmful substances. These include lead, mercury, microscopic rubber particles released from tire treads, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and black carbon emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter. Examples of VOCs include benzene and formaldehyde.
Peaks of Pollution in Kandy
Historical data reveals that Kandy, along with other Sri Lankan cities, experiences heightened air pollution levels during the initial months of the year, particularly from January to March. During this period, it is advisable for individuals to limit their exposure to avoid the potential health risks associated with excessive pollution.
Breathing Easier: Improvements in Air Quality
While the early months of the year pose challenges in terms of air quality, Kandy witnesses significant improvements from May to November. Although the pollution ratings during these months still fall within the moderate category, the PM2.5 readings indicate a safer quality of air compared to the preceding months. Notably, September stands out as the cleanest month, with a reading of 13.5 μg/m³, signifying a substantial reduction in smoke, haze, and particulate matter.
Essential Preparations for Your Journey to Kandy
When planning a trip to Kandy, it is crucial to be prepared for the potential challenges posed by air pollution. Here’s a checklist of essential items and preparations to consider:
- Carry a high-quality face mask to shield yourself from harmful pollutants.
- Regularly check the air quality index to stay informed about current pollution levels.
- Consider avoiding outdoor activities during periods of heightened air pollution.
- Plan your itinerary to include indoor attractions and locations with better air quality.
- Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet to boost your immune system against pollution-related health risks.
Key Takeaways: Navigating the Air Pollution Maze
In summary, Kandy grapples with air pollution, albeit falling within moderate ratings. The presence of PM2.5 serves as a crucial indicator of air pollution and its potential health risks. Vehicular emissions, industrial activities, and burning organic matter all contribute to air pollution in the city. The early months of the year witness heightened pollution levels, gradually subsiding from May to November. Both the local government and individuals play pivotal roles in addressing and mitigating air pollution in Kandy.
By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, visitors to Kandy can revel in their experience while minimizing their exposure to air pollution.
This article was written exclusively for DHPL Travels to provide valuable insights into the enigma of air pollution in Kandy.