New Delhi, October 28: As Diwali festivities begin on Friday with Dhanteras, the worries about worsening air quality of the capital and NCR crop up again as bursting crackers compounds lot of respiratory problems.
The increasing indulgence in firecrackers over the years has made Diwali dangerous festival. Fatal Incidents of fire because of crackers happen every year all over the country with many people losing lives or getting seriously injured.
Firecrackers are in fact the single largest factor responsible for high levels of air pollution in the country during Diwali. Crackers emit a whole lot of toxic chemicals in the air, and if they are non-branded ones, not complying with government norms then the extent of pollution is very high.
Bursting crackers is hazardous to the environment as crackers emit high amounts of smoke. The levels of suspended particulate matter rise dangerously, causing irreparable damage to the health of individuals. It causes air pollution which increases respiratory diseases. Infants and the old people are most affected by this smoke.
The capital on Thursday recorded worst air quality since February this year. A statement issued by the government warned that the city may face critically polluted period in the coming days.
The particulate concentration as recorded by the Delhi pollution control committee (DPCC) on Friday morning when people were on the roads for their offices or festival shopping are frightening.
Anand Vihar air quality monitoring station recorded 676 µg/m3 Particulate Matter (Particulate Matter < 10 µg), more than six times high against the prescribed standard of 100 µg/m3. Anand Vihar in East Delhi continues to hold the dubious distinction of being one of the most polluted areas in the city.
Posh R.K.Puram was closely behind with 586 µg/m3 for the same parameter.
Mandir Marg recorded 398 µg/m3 Particulate Matter (Particulate Matter < 10 µg) against the prescribed standard of 100 µg/m3.
Particulate matter, or PM, is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets, classified according to diameter. Particles less than 2.5 µm (micrometres) are called PM2.5, roughly 1/30th the average width of a human hair. Particles between 2.5 to 10 µm in diameter are called PM10.
The festival of Diwali signals the arrival of the winter season and also the deterioration in Delhi’s air quality. The levels of air pollution rise dangerously, especially in the morning and evening time.
The current forecast for the Diwali air pollution indicates a much worse air quality on Saturday. Bursting crackers on Diwali night leaves the air at its worst between 10 pm to 6 am , as indicated by the data and analysis of DPCC .
Road dust is the chief contributor to PM 10 and PM 2.5 pollution, 56% and 38%, respectively. Power plants contribute to 90% of Delhi’s Sulpher Oxide and half the Nitrogen Oxide pollution.
So, shouldn’t we say no to crackers, for a safer Diwali and a healthier future?