Compared to last year, air quality is expected to be better this Diwali due to heavy rain. On Tuesday, the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) forecast the levels of air quality for the next five days.
However, SAFAR has predicted a rise in the PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels on the two main days of Diwali. Particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere smaller than 10 microns in size (PM 10) and particles smaller than 2.5 microns in size (PM 2.5) are considered more dangerous as these can penetrate deeper into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), which arrives at an unit-less number to indicate the level of pollution, the highest levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 will be seen between 11 pm to 3 am on the night of October 19-20. The SAFAR forecast for air quality levels for Pune region is based on a high-resolution atmospheric chemistry transport prediction model, with feedback from 10 air quality monitoring stations in and around the city.
The ratings by the AQI are colour coded — green indicates good air quality, where there is no risk of air pollution, and the unit-less number is between 51 and 100, yellow indicates moderate air quality, when the unit-less number is between 101 and 200, while red indicates poor air quality, and the unit-less number ranges between 201 and 300. Last year, on Diwali, the air quality was between moderate to poor category.
On why the air quality is expected to be better, scientists from SAFAR said, “During Diwali, the winds are mostly in the north-easterly direction. There will be a drop in the minimum temperature, by 2 degree Celsius, as compared to previous days. It is expected to be partly cloudy… a combination of several weather parameters has played a role in controlling air pollution. Over this period, due to regular rainfall and the fact that monsoon has still not withdrawn, the air quality at Pune is going to be better than 2016,” said scientists at SAFAR.
Katraj will see the highest pollution levels while the least pollution level is expected at Manjri, they said. MPCB to monitor air quality and noise levels during Diwali At the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), noise-level monitoring during Diwali will be conducted at 161 locations across the state on October 19 (Lakshmi Puja), October 20 (Balipratipada) and October 21 (Bhau Bheej). The MPCB will monitor both noise and air quality levels across 18 locations in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.