The city, which battles air pollution round the year thanks to high volume of traffic on its roads, has a bigger battle on its hands during Deepavali, when firecrackers add to the pollution. But this year, there was better awareness with lesser number of crackers being burst across the city. Also, nature came to its aid with the rain making it impossible for many to burst their usual quota of crackers on Sunday. The results were clearly visible in the air pollution readings for the city, reports Aksheev Thakur
Bengaluru: It seemed like a Green Diwali this year in Bengaluru, as efforts by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, citizen groups and environmental organisations in creating awareness against bursting crackers paid dividends. And yes, heavy rains on Sunday evening, did the rest, bringing down pollution levels across the city.
Barring some areas in the city, PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels were within limits, unlike in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh where the Air Quality Index (AQI) plummeted to dangerous levels post-Diwali.
The data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealed that the Silk Board Junction, BTM Layout, Hebbal and Central Railway Station witnessed a surge in the PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels between 8 pm and 10 pm as air quality levels crossed the hazardous 200 micrograms per cubic metre.
The KSPCB, which has been monitoring the air quality for the last seven days, will continue to do so for seven days after Diwali. The government has asked people to burst crackers between 8 pm and 10 pm. The police have been directed to ensure that banned crackers are not used. In seven days, we'll know if Bengaluru heeded the planet's warning!
This Diwali was not the “cracker” that it usually is in Bengaluru with rain proving a dampener in more ways than one on Sunday. Even before the bursting of crackers could fully take off , the dark clouds over the city sent a deluge that had people scurrying indoors. While they lost out, the winner was the environment. Data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reveals that PM 2.5 (tiny particulate matter of 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter) and PM 10 levels were within limits notified by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in several areas of Bengaluru on Diwali before 8 pm and post 10 pm.
While the PM 2.5 levels at the Central Silk Board junction wavered between 306 and 132 between 7 pm and 9:45 pm and at BTM and Hebbal, crossed 200 micrograms per cubic meter, it fell to the prescribed limit of 60 microns as notified by NAAQS post 10 pm,
As for the PM 10 level, it breached the specified NAAQS limit of 100 microns and touched 356 micrograms per cubic meter at the Central Railway Station and 379 micrograms per cubic meter in Hebbal between 8 pm and 9:45 pm
While Dr Lakshmikanth H.M, member, awareness committee, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) claims the board’s mega awareness drive contributed to the sharp decline in bursting of crackers in the city, he admits that the rain too played a big part.
“We have been doing a mega awareness drive for a green and safe Deepavali. But the rain too played a huge role this year,” he said.
Analysis of air quality data by Ambee, an environment intelligence start-up, too revealed that the average PM 2.5 in Bengaluru was 92.5 during the day even on Monday thanks to the rain. “There was a significant decrease in use of firecrackers this year due to awareness campaigns. Compared to last year, air pollution by firecrackers was less and yet it remained dangerous. The rain had little impact on gaseous pollutants like ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide,” said Mr Madhusudan Anand, co-founder and CTO, Ambee.
Warning that there could be an increase in air-borne allergies and chronic respiratory problems, he says people, especially the elderly and children, could experience headaches, reduced cognitive abilities, drowsiness, and nausea as a result of the air pollution. “Any outdoor cardio-intensive workouts should be avoided until the end of Wednesday or Thursday,” he suggested....