Diwali 2018 tough on the lungs and ears
Air pollution up 300% due to unabated bursting of firecrackers, worst air quality in Indira Nagar
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.
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.