Comparative analysis by Delhi Environment Department shows peaks for particulate pollution were higher this year compared to Diwali 2017
Pollution in Delhi reached hazardous levels on Diwali and Thursday morning as the Supreme Court order restricting the use of firecrackers was violated across the city.
A comparative analysis by the Delhi Environment Department showed that peaks for particulate pollution were higher this year compared to Diwali 2017.
While the 24-hour average concentration of the harmful PM2.5 pollutant remained over four times the standard as on 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the peaks recorded overnight were much higher.
The hourly concentration of PM2.5 at the Wazirpur monitoring station of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) recorded a peak of 4,659 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) at 2 a.m., making it 77 times the standard of 60 ug/m3.
Vivek Vihar, Ashok Vihar and R.K. Puram recorded PM2.5 peaks of 2,851 ug/m3 at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, 3,388 ug/m3 at midnight Thursday, and 2,995 ug/m3 at 5 a.m. on Thursday, stated the DPCC.
Though the apex court had limited the use of firecrackers to a two-hour period from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., instances of fireworks going off beyond that window were reported across the city.
The noise pollution levels were also higher this year, stated the analysis by the Environment Department.
Real-time noise monitoring at five locations showed the range increased from 61.4 decibel to 68.2 decibel last year to 64.4 decibel to 74 decibel this Diwali.
Environmentalists said with pollution already very high ahead of Diwali, the use of firecrackers in violation of the court’s order only made matters worse.
“The base level of PM2.5 earlier this week was already high. There was a huge quantum of firecrackers used in two hours coupled with low wind velocity. During the year, we could not change the persistent sources of pollution, so how can we expect to change mindsets in 10 days,” asked Sunil Dahiya, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India.
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Authority said it was closely monitoring the situation and if the pollution showed an increasing trend then emergency measures will be imposed in the Capital. The emergency measures would be implemented as prescribed under the Graded Response Action Plan.
The municipal corporations on Thursday sprinkled water on dusty roads and issued challans for violation of dust pollution control norms as part of efforts to contain pollution.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has deployed 85 vehicles for sprinkling water on 22 roads. They have covered a distance of 205.02 km so far, said an official.
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation had also deployed 69 vehicles for the purpose that covered a distance of 57.6 km, making 120 trips.