THE IMPACT of ‘black Diwali’ celebrated by a significant number of Sikhs people owing to the recent incidents of ‘desecration’ was visible in the decreased air pollution level on Diwali day in Punjab.
The upper limits of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), the major pollutant during Diwali, was the lowest in the past five years in all the major five cities in the state as well as Golden Temple, Amritsar, where no firecracker show was organised this year.
Air samples were collected by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) from five major cities — Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Mandi Gobind Garh (MGG) — as well as the Golden Temple.
The collected samples revealed that not only RSPM was recorded lowest but also the level of Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrous oxide (NOx) also quite below the permissible limits which 80 micro grams/cubic metre at these locations but the limit of these was even half and less than half at all these locations this year.
The samples collected from five major cities revealed that the level of pollution has gone down in both residential and commercial areas on Diwali day since 2011.
Also, the RSPM level was quite low in Darbar Sahib this time at 244 micro gms/cubic metre this year. The RSPM levels at Darbar Sahib was 119 points lower than in 2014, when it was 363 mg/cm.
Although this year, in residential and commercial areas, Amritsar was the most polluted city in Punjab with RSPM levels at 254mg/cm in residential areas but it has shown a considerable decrease as compared to last year when it was 355 mg/cm. In commercial areas, RSPM level in Amritsar is at the top with 296 mg/cm against 353 mg/cm last year.
Jalandhar is second (in residential areas’ pollution) with 239mg/cm against 285mg/cm last year. Ludhiana recorded just 148 mg/cm against 316 mg/cm last year, a major fall. Last year, Ludhiana was on the top as for as commercial area pollution level was concerned with 546mg/cm RSPM and this year this level had gone down to 289mg/cm which is 257 points lower RSMP as compare to last year. In Patiala, too, 180mg/cm RSPM was recorded this year against 220 last year. Similarly there is fall in RSPM at commercial and sensitive areas too which is also recorded lowest in past five year.
PPCB Scientific Officer (Air Laboratory) Charanit Singh said they had collected samples from residential, commercial and sensitive areas of the five major cities of the state.