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Diwali celebrations raise pollution levels in Delhi
New Delhi | November 10, 2007 10:05:06 PM IST
 
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Diwali celebrations this year increased both noise and air pollution levels significantly in comparison to 2006, adding to the smog conditions in the national capital, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said Saturday.

According to data compiled by CPCB, bursting of firecrackers on a large scale on the occasion of the festival Friday led to a nearly three times rise in the sulphur dioxide content compared to last year.

The board monitored the air quality at seven locations: Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Siri Fort, Pitampura, Janakpuri, Nizamuddin, Shahazada Bagh and Shahdara.

"Sulphur dioxide concentrations on Diwali increased at five locations, decreased at Siri Fort and was same at Shahdara, as compared to Diwali in 2006," said a CPCB official.

"This will intensify the smog condition," he said.

During the festival sulphur dioxide concentrations ranged between 8 and 113 micrograms per cubic meter as against 10 and 45 mg per cubic meter last year.

On Friday, Janakpuri locality was most toxic with the highest concentration of Sulphurs in air. It was 113 micrograms per cubic meter.

Similarly, data collected by CPCB found an excessive increase in the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM). Due to its very small size, these particles enter the human body and get settled in lungs creating problems like asthma.

During Diwali, the RSPM level was the highest in Pitampura at 1,294 mg per cubic meter against 388 mg last year. The upper limit of the normal level during winter is 250 mg.

The CPCB official said this year the average noise levels on the Diwali day were in the range of 63-87 decibels as against last year's average values of 56-85 decibels.

Besides crackers, the increase in sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and RSPM may be attributed to adverse meteorological conditions, like decrease in the average temperature from 24.5 degree Celsius in 2006 to 21.1 degrees in 2007 and less wind speed, from 0.29 meter per second in 2006 to 0.10 meter in 2007, explained Gurnam Singh, an environmental engineer at CPCB.

"All this caused accumulation of pollutants closer to the ground level, thereby increasing concentration of all air pollutants substantially. The increase in the noise level in general this year also indicates that air pollution to some extent might have increased due to bursting of more crackers," he added.

(IANS)

 

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