THE CITY witnessed a drastic increase in pollution level on November 11 and 12 with revellers bursting too many crackers on the occasion of Diwali, according to the Air Quality Index of System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Data monitored at different locations shows that air quality ranged from poor to very poor on Diwali days. The PM 2.5 level and PM 10 (particulate matter) was ‘very poor’ on November 12 at Shivajinagar and Hadapsar. The PM 10 level had crossed 350 microgram/per cubic metre while on November 11- (main day of Laxmi Puja) levels had exceeded 100 at most places in the city.
The most polluted areas, out of the 10 SAFAR monitoring stations, were Shivajinagar, Hadapsar and Katraj, while the least polluted ones were Manjari, Nigdi and Alandi where pollution level was in ‘moderate’ level.
Particulate matters in the atmosphere less than 10 microns in size are classified as PM10. Particles that are larger in size are filtered out in the upper layers of the respiratory track, but PM10 particles can enter the lungs. Particles that are less than 2.5 microns in size are considered even more dangerous as these can penetrate deeper into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), the level of most hazardous pollutant particulate matters PM2.5 was well within the permissible limit until November 9. However, suddenly it started to increase from 60 microgram/m3 and reached a value of 110, a day after Diwali on November 12. The level of PM10 reached to a value of 150. These levels fall under poor category , Dr Gufran Beig, Director of SAFAR said.
The pollution level during Diwali this year is less than that of 2014. “However, this indicates that there is an effect of self mitigation and the emissions from firecrackers were significantly less in 2015 as compared to 2014,” said Neha Parkhi, senior programme manager with SAFAR.
The weather was warm and the pollution levels from November 1 this year had ranged between the good and moderate category, according to the Air Quality Index. Bursting fire crackers in a huge way across the city clearly indicated that it became an additional source of air pollution. Such higher concentration of PM2.5 in region cannot be neglected and needs to be addressed on priority, Beig further urged.