Air and noise pollution levels remained within permissible limits during Deepavali in Chennai this year. Till a few years ago, the capital city used to be shrouded in a blanket of smog and haze on Deepavali day following bursting of crackers.
The city had witnessed low visibility as air pollution reached dangerous levels driving Chennaiites and environmentalists to press the panic button. With Deepavali being celebrated during northeast monsoon season, unfavourable weather also causes rise in air pollution. Pollutants, which don’t get dispersed into upper atmosphere on cloudy days without wind, descend spiking air pollution.
Meanwhile, pollution levels in New Delhi this year touched the “severe” category due to cracker emissions, unfavourable weather and rise in stubble burning.
However, there was no significant rise in pollution levels in Chennai as per TNPCB data.
Clear skies on Deepavali also helped pollution disperse at a fast pace this year.
The Supreme Court order on 2-hour window for bursting crackers which came into force last year played a significant role in the marked drop in air pollution levels. The ambient air quality and noise level surveys showed decrease in pollution this year.
While there are bound to be fluctuations owing to traffic, road condition and industrial emissions, conclusive data, without any discrepancy, on pollution impact on the city is not available by taking into account the way air quality and noise are monitored.
Similarly, the number of cases filed by police against those bursting crackers in violation of 2-hour time-frame, has gone down this year.
Also, cracker-related injuries have reduced during the last two years.
Though the Supreme Court had mandated the use of green crackers, majority of Chennaiites didn’t know where they were available.
Sale of green crackers did not pick up in other states too because of high price and lack of variety.
Multiple factors like Supreme Court directives, growing awareness among people on protecting the environment and authorities zeroing in on violators are slowly and steadily making Deepavali ‘greener’....