Pollution level in Delhi and its suburbs have exceeded the “emergency” threshold after Diwali. The city records the worst Air Quality Index in four years because of the burning of stalks and firecrackers. Stalks burning accounts for about 32% of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution but firecrackers added to the emission and made the situation worse. Even after continuous pleading, people violated the ban and burst firecrackers.
Delhi Pollution Control Data:
The PM2.5 level was 396 microgram per cubic meter(ug/m3) in Delhi-NCR at 6 am above the emergency threshold of 300 ug/m3 whereas it was at 329 ug/m3 at 7 pm. Similarly, PM10 level stood at 543 ug/m3 at 6 am above emergency threshold of 500 ug/m3 whereas it was 441 ug/m3 at 7 pm. PM10 levels below 100 ug/m3 are considered safe for India. This is the data provided by Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB).
The quality of air comes in “severe plus” or “emergency” category if PM2.5 & PM10 levels goes above 300 ug/m3 and 500 ug/m3 for more than 48 hours. Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP) has published this very threshold. The wind speed also made dispersion of pollutants difficult contributing to high pollution. Even last year, the record of pollution level was in “severe” category for three days on the trot.
SAFAR charts the pollution in Delhi
Government-run monitoring agency SAFAR called this year’s AQI the worst in 5 years after Diwali. But air quality a day after the festival was the best in past 5 years. The agency’s estimation is a bit different from CPCB data. SAFAR also mentioned that probably due to firecracker bursting, PM2.5 levels saw a peak. Hourly average concentrations touched more than 1000 ug/m3 at midnight. However, Experts looked confused on saying whether the effect of firecrackers was more this year.
Restrictions imposition remained unsuccessful :
On clear violation of ban and Delhi pollution, Ms. Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director of Centre for Science and Environment held weak planning accountable. ” The firecrackers restriction execution was not easy because the planning and imposition started only a few days before Diwali. People had already manufactured crackers and it was available in market until then. If we want to make next year different, we should properly strategise. The effort should be to make everyone understand and prepare effectively in controlling pollution,” she said.