Diwali this year was much less harmful for the environment as compared to the previous year, though there was a marginal rise in noise pollution. Overal, though, the pollution level remained at a worrying level.
Data was gathered by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) from three locations — a residential area, a commercial hub and a place in the designated silence zone. For residential area, the CPCC had installed equipment in Sector 22; and in Sector 17 for commercial area. In the silence zone, equipment was installed 100 metres from the dispensary in Sector 29.
Though the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level exceeded the permissible limit — 100 micrograms per cubic metre — at all three locations, the level recorded in Sectors 22 and 29 was much lower than that last year. In Sector 17, there was a rise from last year but it was still the lowest in the city.
Sector 22 topped the list with RSPM level of 218 micrograms per cubic metre, down to less than half of the 450 recorded on Diwali day last year. Sector 29 recorded RSPM of 260, down from 409 last year. The RSPM level in Sector 17 was recorded at 185 micrograms per cubic metre, up from 165 of 2013 Diwali day.
The air pollution measure is the average of 24 hours, while noise is measured every hour from 6pm to 12pm.
Level of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen at all three locations was within the permissible limits. However, sound levels exceeded the permissible limits at all the locations.
Maximum noise pollution was also found in Sector 22, between 9pm and 10pm, with a reading of 82.9 decibel or dB, which was 77.5 last year. Sector 17 had the minimum noise pollution, between 8pm and 9pm, at 65. 8 dB, thus down from last year’s 69.3. Between 9pm and 10pm, Sector 29 recorded 75 dB as compared to 77.5 dB of 2013.
The maximum noise allowed from firecrackers is 125dB, though otherwise the daytime limit for commercial area is between 55 dB and 65 dB; 45-55 for residential area; and 40-50 for silence zone.
CPCC director PJS Dhadwal said the dip in air pollution was because fewer crackers were burnt this year: “This is the result of awareness campaigns being run by schools and different organisations over the years.”