The first thing SN Dutt of Raj Nagar Extension did on Monday was to turn on his air purifier system as he woke up to a dense smog engulfing his locality post-Diwali. Raj Nagar Extension is one of the upcoming residential hubs where construction activity is widespread, leading to a rise in pollution.
“I bought the air purifier last year and used it on Monday as the toxic air had engulfed the area after Diwali. This is much needed as many residents suffer respiratory issues due to construction activities and now, from the after-effects of burning crackers on Diwali,” he said.
However, the blanket of haze and smog was less intense in Ghaziabad compared to nearby Delhi, where matters went from bad to worse on the morning after Diwali. Residents and commuters complained of zero-visibility and of the smell of burnt firecrackers.
At Kaushambi, adjacent to Delhi’s Anand Vihar, the Delhi pollution control committee’s online ambient air-quality data recorded Particulate Matter (PM) 10 at 766 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm) on Monday morning, against the permissible limit of 100mpcm. The level of finer particles, PM2.5, was also alarmingly high — 549mpcm — against the permissible limit of 60mpcm at 8.20am on Monday.
“In our area, the pollution levels are already high. The smog and fog were markedly enveloping Crossing Republik township on Monday. Many residents preferred not to take their morning walks. Our area is already surrounded by an industrial area on one side while there is massive construction on the other side, in Greater Noida (west). All these factors worsen air quality here,” Raj Kumar, executive member, Crossings Republik Owners & Members Association, said.
In the last three years, the city has witnessed alarmingly high levels of pollution on Diwali. On Diwali day in 2013, the PM10 was nine times the permissible limit, recorded at 900mpcm by the Vasundhara monitoring centre, near Kaushambi. However, this reduced to 427mpcm and 410mpcm in 2014 and 2015, respectively, but which are still much higher than the permissible limit.
Further, at the Model Town monitoring centre, the level of PM10 was recorded at 796mpcm, 506mpcm and 496mpcm on Diwali day in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Apart from this, the noise levels also remained high on Diwali day as crackers were burst well past midnight. The pre-Diwali noise levels in 2015 stood at 57.9 decibels (db) against a limit of 45 db (day). This further increased to 76.3db during Diwali day. The noise pollution level this Diwali are yet to be released.
“Our air pollution data will be compiled soon while the detailed data will require another three days to be finalised. Although smoggy conditions were witnessed post-Diwali, we expect a further decline in pollution levels from last year. This is because a large number of people avoided fireworks,” Paras Nath, regional-manager, UP pollution control board, said.