Pusa, Noida most polluted post-Diwali

The air pollution at Pusa in central Delhi and Noida in the national capital region (NCR) was highest in the region post-Diwali, scientists said on Thursday.

It was exorbitantly high on hourly scale from 11 pm on Tuesday night to 1 am on Wednesday.

The data obtained by SAFAR (System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research) which is India’s first air quality prediction system consisting of eight automatic air quality monitoring stations — projected that there was a huge variability from one location to another location of Delhi and NCR on Diwali day.

SAFAR’s data revealed that most toxic pollutant PM2.5 (fine particulate matters of size less than 2.5 micrometres) level was 682 microgram/m3 at Pusa in central Delhi, which was higher than 372 microgram/m3 of 2011 and 652 microgram/m3 of 2010.

“The highest particulate pollution (PM2.5) level of around 682 microgram/m3 is observed at Pusa and Noida on November 13 which is just 90 per cent increase from the reference background level of November 11 (Sunday), when weather was normal,” Gufran Beig, programme director, SAFAR said.

The data also pointed out that the air pollution is 2.5 times higher than and “critical” and very unhealthy level of 253 microgram/m3 as defined in the scientific report on air quality index (AQI) of Delhi published by ministry of Earth sciences in 2010.

SAFAR in-charge Sunil Peshin said, “The least polluted regions on Diwali day were Palam, India Gate, Lodhi Road and Aya Nagar where pollution level was recorded as 275 microgram /m3 which is almost half the pollution as compared to Pusa or Noida.”

According to scientists high levels of air pollution at Pusa is due to the dense residential and high rise buildings where the pollution could not diffused. However, they cautioned that otherwise also the air quality index limit is between “poor” and “very poor” category, which is not good either.

Role of weather

Apart from this, the scientists also noted that the pollution level on last Diwali was lower compared to 2012 because the festival was 19 days earlier. According to experts, the emission level due to crackers could have been more or less of the same order but the weather condition played a very critical role.

“Although the emission levels of crackers were more or less the same, the meteorology played a very critical role in its distribution which is highly dominating this year. The westerly disturbances recently occurred this time prior to Diwali, but this was not the case last year,” a scientist said.

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