Rain-washed city gives warm welcome to palkhis

Particulate pollution has dropped due to heavy rainfall that lashed the city recently,but there is no change in gaseous pollutants in the atmosphere

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published:July 3, 2013 3:26 am

Particulate pollution has been washed off by rains and it was in salubrious surroundings that the palkhi carrying Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram stayed at Alandi and then moved towards its destination.

Dr Gufran Beig,Director of System for Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR),told Newsline that it was the first time that the pollution scenario was assessed during the palkhi this week.

One of the hi-tech Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS),installed at Alandi under the

SAFAR project,was inaugurated on May 1 and has continuously displayed the air quality and weather information through giant LED display board to pilgrims during the Palkhi period.

Rains helped wash off the particulate pollution and the level of Particulate Matter PM10 and PM2.5,substances that are toxic to human health and can cause asthma,remained relatively low,Beig said.

The level of PM10 was found

to be 55 microgram per cubic metre on June 28 and it remained around 60 microgram/m3 in spite of terrestrial rain till June 30. This level,according to the experts,was below the threshold level. The level

was around 30 microgram per m3

on June 25 and 26,but dropped to 20 microgram/m3 on Tuesday and will remain between 15 to 20 microgram/m3 until July 4 as per the predictions.

During all these days,rain has been mild and no heavy rains were recorded. The level of NOx (16ppb) and CO (1.2 ppm),however, remained high as they are not affected by rain,these being gaseous pollutants. However,these values are also well within the permissible range. CO has become high in Pune due to convection currents owing to the monsoon season,as it gets transported from distant regions due to larger life time with high winds and do not get washed off due to rain,Beig explained.

The Air Quality Index is a scale designed to help the public understand what the air quality around them means to their health. SAFAR has provided location specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 24 hours in advance. The ultimate aim is to increase awareness among the general public about air quality in their city,so that appropriate action and systematic measures can be taken to mitigate the situation.

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