Post-Diwali, air pollution levels drop across metros; cracker ban, awareness, favourable weather conditions likely causes

The effects of a much talked-about Supreme Court judgment last year, arguably made a tangible effect this time, as all major metro cities reported much lower pollution levels post Diwali, as compared to the toxins found in the atmosphere in past years

FP Staff October 29, 2019 10:29:06 IST
Post-Diwali, air pollution levels drop across metros; cracker ban, awareness, favourable weather conditions likely causes
  • The effects of a much talked-about Supreme Court judgment last year, arguably made a tangible effect this time, as all major metro cities reported much lower pollution levels post Diwali, as compared to the toxins found in the atmosphere in past years

  • The overall air quality of Delhi was in a Severe category a day after Diwali, however it was 30 percent better than what was recorded last year

  • Mumbai recorded it's cleanest Diwali air in five years, and the quietest Diwali in 15 years on Sunday

The much-discussed Supreme Court judgment last year, arguably made a tangible impact this time, as all major metro cities reported much lower pollution levels after Diwali, as compared to the toxins found in the atmosphere in past years. All prominent Tier-I cities like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad etc reported satisfactory air quality barring the National Capital, which also clocked an improvement when compared to data from the last three years.

The Supreme Court had in 2018 restricted the use of firecrackers between 8 to 10 pm and banned the use of regular firecrackers, following which the Government of India came out with 'green crackers' with a special logo and machine-readable code that were expected to reduce particulate matter emission by 30 percent.

Although these green crackers could not pervade the markets across the nation and the plan's efficacy was also probably ruined by reports of counterfeits being sold at lower prices, the pollution situation did improve across all cities — including Delhi, one of the worst-hit cities due to geographical factors and stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

PostDiwali air pollution levels drop across metros cracker ban awareness favourable weather conditions likely causes

Representational image. PTI

Delhi

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of Delhi is in a Severe category a day after Diwali, when the festivities still aren't completely over for large parts of north India, that celebrate Diwali over a five day period. Though the PM2.5 concentrations peaked at around midnight, the concentrations were lower than in the past three years, SAFAR reported.

SAFAR reported that the main factors contributing to this was high wind speeds, which helped to flush out and disperse high firecracker emissions. However restraint observed by aware citizens cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor because the stubble fire counts are increasing in Haryana and Punjab as the sowing season for the winter crop nears. Furthermore, the transport level wind direction is favorable for plume transport (northwesterly).

The Central Pollution Control Board also confirmed this as it observed that the city's average PM2.5 level was 284 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/cubic metre), the apex anti-pollution body said in a special report. The average PM2.5 level on Diwali was 40 µg/cubic metre less than last year. The PM10 concentration also reduced by 41 µg/cubic metre, according to the report.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee also said less fireworks, rigorous night patrolling and enforcement measures to curb instigators reduced the PM2.5 and PM10 levels by 30 percent on Diwali night this year as compared to 2018. The decline in emissions of dangerous PM10 and PM2.5 particles across Delhi ranged from 20 to 50 per cent, indicating the air quality was better than previous years, the DPCC said in a statement.

SAFAR forecasted AQI to improve to higher-end very poor category on Tuesday and a slight increase in wind speed is expected by 30 October will help improve AQI marginally to middle end of the Very poor category.

However, the noise pollution levels were not so encouraging despite a decline in trends of bursting crackers.  The CPCB said it observed an increase in both daytime and nighttime noise level at seven out of the 10 monitoring stations from where it collected data. The monitoring stations are Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, CPCB HQ, Civil Lines, Bawana, Dilshad Garden, ITO, Mandir Marg, RK Puram and NSIT, and Dwarka. Only NSIT, Dwarka and ITO recorded a slight decline in both daytime and nighttime noise levels.

Mumbai

As far as noise and air pollution is concerned, Mumbai emerged a clear winner across metro cities in India. However, apart from citizen intervention, weather situations like unprecedented October rainfall and high velocity winds due to the Cyclone Kyarr in the Arabian Sea may have also been a factor in clearing up the Maximum City's air.

However, a more aware citizenry's role is undeniable as Diwali in 2019 was Mumbai's quietest Diwali in 15 years, indicating rising awareness against the use of noisy firecrackers.

Sunday's Diwali celebrations in Mumbai generated a decibel level of 112.3, recorded just after the 10 pm deadline for bursting of firecrackers, down from 117.8 dB posted at the same time in 2017, an NGO fighting against noise pollution stated on Monday. The noisiest locations in the metropolis were Marine Drive and the gymkhanas along it in south Mumbai. The bursting of firecrackers continued till 10.45 pm across the metropolis, though the intensity waned after 10:15 pm on Sunday.

The city performed better in terms of air pollution too as SAFAR reported that the air quality index (AQI) in Mumbai on Sunday for PM 2.5 (particulate matter which can settle in the lungs and cause health ailments) was 30 (good) in the daytime, which then became 87 (satisfactory) by Sunday evening. Pune reported a satisfactory air quality, which improved to good on Tuesday, according to SAFAR.

Kolkata

The overall air quality in the city and its surrounding areas hovered in the "moderate" category on Monday, the day after Kali Puja and Diwali, but degraded to nearly "poor" in areas under two air monitoring stations. The Air Quality Index (AQI) reached 196 (PM 2.5), a little less than 201 (poor) at Fort William automated air monitoring station at 7 pm, a West Bengal Pollution Control Board official said.

On the day after Kali Puja and Diwali day last year, the index had breached the 250-mark, making it the worst-hit mero city last year. Environmentalist Subhas Dutta said the escalation in AQI in some stations a day after Kali Puja may be attributed to factors like the sudden change in weather and vehicular pollution and may not have connection with bursting of fireworks a day after the Kali Puja and Diwali.

However, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board said it has received 140 complaints of bursting of high decibel firecrackers during Kali Puja and Diwali in Kolkata and its neighbouring areas.

The WBPCB has also received complaints from neighbouring areas of the city such as Bidhannagar, Khardah, Sonarpur, Lake Town, Budge Budge, it said.

With inputs from agencies

 

Updated Date:

also read

Petrol and diesel price today on 10 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here
India

Petrol and diesel price today on 10 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here

Petrol and diesel prices: Petrol price in Delhi stands at Rs 101.19 per litre while diesel is available for Rs 88.62. In Mumbai, petrol is retailing at Rs 107.26 while diesel costs Rs 96.19

Petrol and diesel price today on 7 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here
India

Petrol and diesel price today on 7 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here

Petrol and diesel prices: Petrol price in Delhi stands at Rs 101.19 per litre while diesel is available for Rs 88.62. In Mumbai, petrol is retailing at Rs 107.26 while diesel costs Rs 96.19

Petrol and diesel price today on 6 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here
India

Petrol and diesel price today on 6 September: Petrol, diesel rates unchanged; check price in Delhi, Mumbai here

Petrol and diesel prices: Petrol price in Delhi stands at Rs 101.19 per litre while diesel is available for Rs 88.62. In Mumbai, petrol is retailing at Rs 107.26 while diesel costs Rs 96.19