live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy|| 154 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 61.5 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Osh air is currently 12.3 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Tuesday, Jan 18|
Very Unhealthy 226 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 19|
Unhealthy 170 US AQI
|Thursday, Jan 20|
Unhealthy 161 US AQI
Unhealthy 154 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 22|
Moderate 76 US AQI
|Sunday, Jan 23|
Moderate 82 US AQI
|Monday, Jan 24|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 25|
Good 20 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 26|
Good 22 US AQI
|Thursday, Jan 27|
Good 33 US AQI
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Osh is a city located in the Fergana valley, in the southern region of Kyrgyzstan. It is estimated to be somewhere over 3000 years old in its registered history, making it the oldest established city in the country. It has a diverse population consisting of different ethnic groups such as Uzbeks, Russians and Tajiks, with some 281 thousand people living there as of 2017.
It has a long history of being an important trade route, with an established market status during the days of the silk road era. Nowadays, it has made a gradual move towards modernization as well as introducing further infrastructure into its urban planning, although not with as much sudden change as other cities or countries in the region. However, a side effect of this is a considerable increase in pollution levels due to a large increase in factories, industrial areas, use of cars and other vehicles as well as traditional practices that contribute to pollution levels, some of which will be discussed in short.
In the early period of 2021, Osh came in with PM2.5 readings as high as 194 μg/m³ on some days, an extremely high reading by any measure, one that would put it into the ‘very unhealthy’ group rating for that particular day, a rarely seen rating that requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 150.5 to 250.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.
This is an extremely hazardous level of air quality, and whilst there are other days that came in as low as 24 μg/m³, a majority of the days recorded in early 2021 came in above 100 μg/m³, indicating that Osh is subject to some dangerous levels of air contamination.
Osh would see itself subject a variety of pollution sources, many of which come together to form the extremely high numbers that were touched on in the previous question. On top of this, high volumes of smoke, haze and pollution would accumulate in the cold winter months, for a number of reasons both anthropological and meteorological in nature.
One of these causes of pollution would be vehicle emissions, with many cars, motorbikes and heavy duty vehicles such as trucks or lorries commuting the length of the city, providing people transport on their daily commutes as well as for use in trade between cities and neighboring countries.
Many of these vehicles would be using cheaper and low quality fuels, as well as diesel fuel, both of which can release far greater amounts of pollution into the air when compared to cleaner or higher quality counterparts.
Other causes of pollution include construction sites, in particular poorly maintained ones that leak large amounts of fine particulate matter and other dangerous materials. Mining is another major problem, causing the same dispersal of PM10 and PM2.5 as construction sites, as well as heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. In the winter months, the large spikes in pollution are initiated by the mass burning of materials such as wood or other similar dead organic matter to provide heating as well as energy for cooking. These are some of the main causes of the large increases of pollution seen in Osh and the rest of Kyrgyzstan.
With so many different sources of air pollution occurring in Osh, there would be a huge variety of contaminants to be found in the atmosphere. Some of them would include the more common nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which are released in large amounts from vehicles, with nitrogen dioxide being the biggest offender when it comes to vehicular emissions. Of note is that many of the older and poorly maintained vehicles would leak far greater quantities of oil vapors and other dangerous gases, with locally used low quality fuels often containing higher amounts of chemicals such as sulfur.
Mining would release large amounts of finely ground silica and gravel dust, which can wreak havoc on the respiratory system of those who are exposed or have to live or work nearby such areas. The smoke and fumes released from indoor fires and cooking stoves would contain all manner of materials such as black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Previously mentioned toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury would also be released from mines as well as construction sites.
With a growing population that is seeing the city become more modernized, Osh would subsequently have a greater need for power plants of other similar industrial facilities to provide electricity to houses and places of business. These power plants would use a large amount of coal to meet the energy needs, and as a side effect the previously mentioned black carbon and VOC's would be released as a side effect of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.
Some examples of VOC's include benzene, toluene, xylene and methylene chloride, all of which are detrimental to human health, and due to their volatile nature, remain in a gaseous state even at much lower temperatures. Thus, power plants would have a considerable part to play in air quality deterioration in Osh.
With numbers of PM2.5 in the air going as high as 194 μg/m³, and averages of 100 μg/m³ coming over the month of January, during this time people would be subject to some fairly serious health consequences, particularly when vulnerable demographics of the population are involved. Short terms health issues would include ones such as irritation to the mucous membranes, with aggravation to the eyes, nose, ears, throat and even skin occurring, causing rashes and even allergies to begin for young children when over exposed.
Other long term issues would include degrading of the lung tissue, with scarring and reduced lung function being a side effect. This would not only reduce life expectancy of those afflicted, but make them more susceptible to further infections or pulmonary complications down the line. Some ailments that may get introduced would include pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and also aggravated asthma attacks.