Air quality deteriorates due to crackers
LUCKNOW : In violation of the Supreme Court’s firecracker deadline, people in Lucknow and some key cities of UP burst crackers past midnight (in fact right up to the Parewa night), resulting in a ‘very poor’ air quality index (AQI).
Lucknowites woke up to ‘severe’ air quality (AQI 412) on Thursday, a day after Diwali (November 8). On Friday, there was a little improvement in Lucknow’s AQI, but it remained in ‘very poor’ category (AQI 377), an analysis by the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) showed.
The day after Diwali, the AQI in Ghaziabad was at 422, Bulandshahr 418 and Greater Noida 410. It remained in ‘severe’ category, as per the data of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The AQI remained in ‘very poor’ category in other UP cities like Baghpat 389, Hapur 378, Moradabad 371, Muzaffarnagar 362 and Agra 355.
“The Diwali report about Lucknow was indeed very disturbing. On Diwali night, the air pollution level went up manifolds. It’s an alarming situation, also a time for introspection. If the situation remains the same, what we would leave for our future generations,” said Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) director Alok Dhawan.
The CEED analysis also said air pollution levels breached the emergency level on Diwali night and the day after in Lucknow.
The 24-hour average of PM2.5 level on Diwali (November 7) was 250 micrograms per cubic meter (mg/m³), which was four times higher than the national standards and more than 1.5 times higher than the level of pre-Diwali day (November 6) when the 24-hour PM2.5 average was 183 mg/m³.
Winds and more moisture in the air on the post-Diwali morning worsened the pollution build-up. The PM2.5 concentration on November 8 was 386 mg/ m³, which was 6.4 times higher than the safe limits.
The situation here is not worse than that in Delhi and its neighbouring areas, including Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad, but it is no less in intensity.
Doctors said post Diwali there had been an increase in the number of patients with breathing problem in Lucknow.
Diwali crackers usually contain sulfar dioxide, cadmium, lead and magnesium. All these when released in greater quantity can cause difficulty in breathing for patients of asthma, said a doctor at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences.
Not only this, cardiac patients felt restlessness and anxiety, he said.
Shampa (52), a homemaker said, “I faced respiratory problem on Diwali night and thereafter. Poisonous smoke in the air nearly choked me. I was taken to a private hospital where doctors advised me to use inhaler if ever I experience respiratory problem.”
The Supreme Court had asked to ensure crackers are burst in a timeframe.