Air, water and noise pollution levels declined sharply in Pune during the first phase of the nationwide lockdown, according to findings in the Environment Status Report (ESR) of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which was tabled on Friday.
The report shows that levels of particulate matter, PM 10 and PM 2.5, the most harmful air pollutants, have dropped significantly.
“The comparison of PM 10 and PM 2.5 during the period of March 23 to April 14 this year, compared to last year, shows a significant drop. It dropped from 83.09 and 50.18 microgram per cubic metre, respectively, to 60.60 and 37.19, respectively,” stated the report, adding that PM 10 levels had dropped by 29 per cent while PM 2.5 levels had dropped by 16 per cent. As per acceptable standards, PM10 levels should be within 60 microgram per cubic metre while PM 2.5 should be 40 microgram per cubic metre.
The study further showed that Nitrogen Oxide, mainly emitted by fuel combustion of vehicles, dropped by 57 per cent during the lockdown, as most vehicles stayed off the roads. It had dropped to 6.20 ppb (parts per billion) between March 23 and April 14.
When compared to the same period in 2019, Nitrogen Oxide levels showed a drop of 67 per cent as, between March 23 to April 14 last year, it was 19.0 ppb. The permissible level of Nitrogen Oxide is 40 ppb.
The lockdown also led to the closure of commercial and industrial units, resulting in no release of by-products or industrial emissions in water bodies, a major source of pollution in Pune. In Mula-Mutha river, which runs across the city, the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) reduced from 61.61 miligram per litre before the lockdown in March to 32.09 in April, which is close to the permissible limit of 30. A drop of around 50 per cent in BOD was registered as all commercial, private offices, hotels, restaurants and educational institutes were closed, and there was no release of sewage from them.
Similarly, the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) dropped from 159.68 miligram per litre in March to 67.7 in April, lower than even the permissible level of 150 mg per litre. Both BOD and COD are indicators of water pollution levels.
The lockdown also led to a drop in noise levels across the city, in commercial, residential and silent zones. “Commercial areas witnessed the maximum drop from 74.56 decibels (dB) in March to 66.55 in April, residential areas saw it drop from 49.75 dB to 47.48 dB and silent zones from 49.53 dB to 47.11 dB. The standard level for commercial areas is 65 dB, residential areas 55 dB and silent zones is 50dB,” stated the report.
In Swargate, one of the busiest areas in the city, the noise level dropped from 91 dB to 67 dB
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