It was the cleanest and quietest Diwali since 2001 in Delhi, mainly because of fewer crackers burnt and warm weather.
“From the study of noise levels in the city we can easily conclude that lesser number of crackers were burnt this Diwali,” said SD Makhijani, member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board, which monitors air quality and noise pollution levels in the city.
This can be attributed to the success of an anti-cracker campaign in schools and poor cracker sales this year. “From addressing only issues of pollution, students are now talking about the more serious issue of child labour used in manufacturing crackers,” said Amita Wattal, principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road.
Also, the Delhi Police this year cut down the number of cracker shops. Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders said only 800-900 crackers shops functioned after police reduced the number shop licences from 3,000 last year to 1,000.
Along with this, the pollution watchdog said, a warm Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, when the temperature was around 27 degrees Celsius, had a role. Makhijani said pollutants rise much higher in air in warm conditions. In cold conditions, a blanket of pollutants is formed, making it uncomfortable.
Usually, the morning after Diwali, Delhi’s landscape used to be covered in smog because of high levels of sulphur dioxide and pollutants categorised under suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM).
In 2001, the level of sulphur dioxide ranged between 12 and 130 microgram per cubic metre as compared to 7 to 24 this year. Similarly, SPM and RSPM levels in 2001 were more than double Tuesday’s levels.