Patna recorded nearly seven times the normal amount of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) in the air on Diwali while the ambient noise level was also high. 685.97 micrograms per metre cube of RSPM was recorded on Diwali which is seven times the standard rate of 100 micrograms per metre cube and almost double the average level of RSPM at 335.70 micrograms on normal days.
RSPM is a causative agent of mortality and morbidity. Fine particles on their own or with combination with other air pollutants are linked with a number of health problems like premature death, aggravated asthma and acute respiratory symptoms. According to a press release by the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB), it chose October 24 to compare the air quality data gathered from the city’s Boring Road square.
The level of RSPM was recorded at 487.74 micrograms between 2 PM and 10 PM on Diwali against the 425.43 micrograms of RSPM on the normal day (October 24), the release said. From 10 PM to 6 AM, 685.97 micrograms per metre cube of RSPM was recorded on Diwali. The average level of RSPM on the festival was recorded at 498.63 micrograms per metre cube.
The pollution board’s assistant scientific officer Navin Kumar cited inversion as the reason for the high level of RSPM. Atmospheric inversion traps pollutants close to the ground and causes smog. The capital also witnessed an increase in the level of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide between 6 PM to 10 PM on Diwali. There was an increase in the level of sulphur dioxide during the period but it remained below the standard level of 80 micrograms per metre cube.
Similarly, the level of nitrogen dioxide was recorded at 142.41 micro gram per meter cube against the standard level of 80 microgram. The ambient noise level was recorded at 82.4 decibles between 6 AM to 10 PM on Diwali day against the 78.6 decibles on normal day, the release said, adding, there is a slight decrease in the noise level between 10 pm to 12 midnight on Diwali.
Against the noise pollution level of 82.2 decibles recorded in the years 2012 and 2014 between 10 PM to midnight on Diwali, the board has recorded the noise level at 80.4 decibles this year, the same as last year.