Pollutants released this Diwali may harm the internal organs in your body such as the brain and heart — the most vulnerable being children and senior citizens. This is the assessment made by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), issued on Monday.
“People with existing heart or lung ailments are at increased risk of admission to hospitals or even premature death based on the severity of an already existing problem,” read SAFAR’s health impact statement.
SAFAR also revised its Sunday forecast, predicting worse air pollution levels for the next three days, primarily because of firecrackers.
The forecast estimated an air quality index (AQI) – a pollution-measuring indicator — of 282 on November 12, 259 on November 11 (Diwali Day) and 222 on November 10 (Tuesday), with all the levels falling under the ‘poor’ category, indicating a health risk for people sensitive to air pollution.
Read more: Beware, the air you breathe this Diwali
“Between November 11 and 12, a higher level of pollution may be observed at night based on our hourly model forecast,” said Gufran Beig, scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune and project director, SAFAR. “We may find a peak in pollution levels between 1am to 2am after Diwali because night temperatures are lower and pollutants emitted will be trapped in the surface layer of the atmosphere.”
Officials from SAFAR also told HT that firecrackers will be considered to be an additional source for the rise in pollution levels. “It is expected that combustion at higher temperatures will emit fine particles of particulate matter along with already prevailing pollutants in the air,” said Neha S Parkhi, senior programme officer, SAFAR. The revised forecast confirmed that four locations in the city have been identified as ‘high-risk locations’ during Diwali – Nerul, Chembur, Bhandup and Mazgaon — while two locations – Borivli and Colaba — are expected to have ‘cleaner air’.