Di­wali 2018 tough on the lungs and ears

Air pol­lu­tion up 300% due to un­abated burst­ing of fire­crack­ers, worst air qual­ity in Indira Na­gar

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Spotlight - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LUC­KNOW: The un­abated burst­ing of fire­crack­ers caused air pol­lu­tion lev­els to in­crease by al­most 300%, mak­ing it the most pol­luted Di­wali night in Luc­know in two years, of­fi­cials said, quot­ing a sur­vey by the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tox­i­col­ogy Re­search (IITR) that mon­i­tors the city’s air qual­ity.

The max­i­mum noise level was recorded at 86.9 deci­bels, as against the per­mis­si­ble 55 dB in res­i­den­tial areas.

“The Di­wali re­port was in­deed very dis­turb­ing. On Di­wali night, the air pol­lu­tion level went up man­i­fold. 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 IITR di­rec­tor Alok Dhawan.

The IITR re­port said, “The sur­vey clearly in­di­cated that the air qual­ity of the city sig­nif­i­cantly de­te­ri­o­rated due to fire­works for a short pe­riod which can se­verely af­fect hu­man health, par­tic­u­larly in case of chil­dren, se­nior cit­i­zens and peo­ple with res­pi­ra­tory dis­or­ders.”

On Di­wali night, the PM 10 level (par­tic­u­late mat­ter 10 mi­crom­e­ters or less in di­am­e­ter) in­creased from 265µg/m3 (mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter of air) to 989.5µg/m3 but came down to 385µg/m3 post Di­wali night. Sim­i­larly, the PM2.5 level (fine and most haz­ardous par­tic­u­late mat­ter) in­creased from 170µg/m3 to 679µg/m3 on Di­wali night but fell to 265µg/m3 about 24 hours later.

The find­ings were part of the air qual­ity check that the IITR car­ried out at around nine lo­ca­tions of the city to as­sess the im­pact of fire­works on the en­vi­ron­ment dur­ing the fes­ti­val of lights. Th­ese nine lo­ca­tions are Ali­ganj, Vikas­na­gar, Indi­rana­gar, Gomti­na­gar, Charbagh, Aminabad, Chowk, Alam­bagh and Amausi.

The IITR di­rec­tor said, “The sur­vey re­sult not only hints at the ex­tra­or­di­nary rise in the air pol­lu­tion level on Di­wali night but also the fact that res­pirable par­tic­u­lates dur­ing pre-Di­wali, Di­wali and post-Di­wali are well above the Na­tional Ambient Air Qual­ity Stan­dards of 60 and 100 µg/m3 for PM2.5 and PM10. In or­der to col­lect authen­tic data, the team car­ried out the sur­vey thrice pre Di­wali, Di­wali day and post Di­wali.”

As per statis­tics with the IITR, Indira Na­gar had the worst air qual­ity with the PM10 level of 1285µg/m3 on Di­wali night as against the na­tional safe stan­dard of 100 µg/m3. The PM 10 level reached 1057 µg/m3 in Ali­ganj, 1123 µg/m3 in Vikas­na­gar, 991 µg/m3 in Gomti Na­gar, 996 µg/m3 in Charbagh, 953 µg/m3 in Alam­bagh, 1050 µg/m3 in Aminabad, 807 µg/m3 in Chowk and 640 µg/m3 in Amausi. The Vikas­na­gar area recorded the max­i­mum PM2.5 level of 879.9µg/m3

on Di­wali night. The PM 2.5 level reached 797 ug/m3 in Ali­ganj, 802 µg/m3 in Indira Na­gar, 521 µg/m3 in Gomti Na­gar, 793 µg/m3in Charbagh, 566 µg/m3in Alam­bagh, 857 µg/m3 in Aminabad, 520 µg/m3 in Chowk and 375 µg/m3 in Amausi.

This was against the Na­tional Ambient Air Qual­ity Stan­dards of 60µg/m3.

The PM10 level on Di­wali in 2014 and 2015 was mea­sured at 514µg/m3 and 424µg/m3 re­spec­tively. The PM2.5 level on Di­wali in 2014 and 2015 was recorded at 423 and 275 µg/m3 re­spec­tively.

Last Di­wali, the air pol­lu­tion level de­clined by al­most 50% as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. The IITR re­port sug­gested that the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 was found to be 316 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre of air while that of PM10 was found to be 514.8 at seven dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions on Di­wali night last year.

In 2016, the city had wit­nessed one of the most pol­luted Di­wali nights with par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM) 10 in­creas­ing from 205µg/m3 to 986µg/m3. Sim­i­larly, the PM2.5 level in­creased from 70µg/m3 to 792µg/m3. The IITR statis­tics, how­ever, sug­gested that the level of SO2 and NO2 was found within the per­mis­si­ble lim­its this time. The max­i­mum noise pol­lu­tion was recorded in Chowk at nearly 87 dB on Di­wali night. The mon­i­tor­ing was car­ried out from 11 pm to mid­night at sev­eral lo­ca­tions.

SUBHANKAR CHAKRABORTY/HT PHOTO

The state cap­i­tal’s sky­line dot­ted by fire­works on Di­wali night. As per IITR’s find­ings, Indira Na­gar area in Luc­know had the worst air qual­ity with PM10 level of 1285ug/m3 as against na­tional safe stan­dard of 100 ug/m3.

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