Air pollutants & meteorological variables influence pollen concentration: study

What is the News?

Scientists have found that air pollutants influence pollen concentration, and different types of pollen have a unique response to weather conditions.

What is Pollen, and why it’s harmful?

Pollen is a fine yellowish powder that is transported from plant to plant by the wind, by birds, by insects or by other animals. The transportation of these pollen helps in fertilisation of plants

At times these remain suspended in the air and form part of the air we breathe. When inhaled by humans, they put a strain on the upper respiratory system.

They cause widespread upper respiratory tract and naso-bronchial allergy with manifestations like asthma, seasonal rhinitis, and bronchial irritation.

Must Read: Chandigarh’s first Pollen Calendar
What is the study conducted by researchers on Airborne Pollen?

Chandigarh’s researchers studied the influence of meteorology and air pollutants on the airborne pollen in Chandigarh.

They also explored the relationships of temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, wind speed, direction, and ambient air pollutants mainly particulate matter and nitrogen oxide to the airborne pollen.

What are the findings of the study?

Each pollen type studied had a unique response to weather conditions and air pollutants. The majority of pollen types were reported in the spring and autumn flowering period. 

Distinct peaks of airborne pollen were observed during favourable weather conditions like moderate temperature, low humidity and low precipitation.

Moderate temperature plays a significant role in flowering, inflorescence, maturation, pollen release and dispersal. 

In contrast, pollen grains were eliminated from the atmosphere during precipitation and high relative humidity.

What is the significance of this study?

The study could help to improve the understanding of complex interactions between airborne pollen, air pollutants, and climatic variables.

It would also help in formulating suitable mitigation policies and minimizing the burden of pollinosis in the Indo-Gangetic Plain region. This region has been identified as a hotspot of air pollution, specifically during October and November months.  

Source:  This post is based on the article Air pollutants & meteorological variables influence pollen concentration: studypublished in PIB on 29th Dec 2021.

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