As the city prepares for Diwali, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board has appealed to the residents not to burst crackers, with a view to reduce air pollution in the region.
The board will also organise a workshop next week to sensitise students to give up crackers and celebrate Diwali the traditional way.
Every year, the air pollution levels rise because of cracker bursting on Diwali. Also the sound decibel recorded on this day is mush higher than prescribed levels, the officials said.
Officials said sulphur dioxide and suspended particulate matter such as PM10 are released in the air when crackers are burst.
According to the environmentalists, that local weather conditions also affect the level of pollution. This is also substantiated by the pollution board officials.
On Thursday, the PM2.5 level was 249 g/m3 which caused breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure. The safe threshold for PM 2.5 is 60 g/m3.
Meanwhile, the officials said this year the air quality is better than last year. “At present, the pollution level has not increased much, however, if the pollutants are trapped in the atmosphere for a longer period, smog will occur. This year, the air quality is much better as we have not yet experienced any smog yet. Last year, the PM2.5 was more than 300 g/m3. Toxic smoke mixed with fog causes smog and it persisted last October and November,” said Ranbir Rathi, senior officer, HSPCB.
Vijay Chowdhary, environmental engineer, HSPCB, said, “Every year, the PM10 and PM2.5 levels are higher during Diwali, because the pollutants remain trapped in the atmosphere for longer periods because of moisture and low pressure.”
“We started the awareness campaign last year and we have witnessed a huge response, especially in new Gurgaon areas. The awareness level seemed to have increased a lot and people are turning away from crackers,” Chowdhary said.
These campaigns will help youngsters understand that noise and air pollution resulting from the use of firecrackers affects the entire environment and not just human beings, the pollution department officials said.
“We are not against tradition; we are encouraging people to celebrate Diwali as the festival of lights. It is not a festival of crackers. Diwali should be celebrated with rangoli, lamps and lights,” a pollution officer said.