Noida’s air quality on Diwali night was ‘severe’ according to the System of Air quality and weather Forecasting And Research (Safar) located in Sector 62. The level of pollutants was much more than permissible limits on the festival.
According to experts, there was a rapid surge in PM10 and PM2.5 levels, which led to a concentration of pollutants and subsequently, smoggy conditions in Noida and Greater Noida, after Diwali.
PM10 and PM2.5 are the particulate matter that is lesser than 10 micrometres and 2.5 micrometres in diameter, respectively.
However, experts said that the use of firecrackers on Diwali was not the only reason for the alarming rate of air pollution.
“One of the major reasons is that the speed of wind decreased from 7kmph on October 28 to less than 1kmph on October 31. As a result, pollutants are not being dispersed in the air. Another reason is that the duration of lower temperature prolonged. A temperature of 15 degrees Celsius was recorded for six hours — from 12am to 6am — on October 30,” Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR that functions under the ministry of earth science, the government of India, said.
“The more the duration of lower temperatures, higher is the rate of air pollution,” he said.
He said that several conditions are aiding concentration of pollutants, and therefore, making it longer for dispersion. He said that residents should avoid crowded places until the pollution level decreases.
Elders and children, particularly those suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, complained of health problems during the festival.
“I felt uneasy while breathing in the morning and also could not hold my breath for long. Builders flouting the construction norms is also polluting the air in Noida,” Sharad Tiwari, an environmentalist and resident of Sector 62, said.
“Residents should avoid going for a morning walk because air pollution is at its peak between 4am and 6am. Smog and pollutants are likely to clear by November 2,” Beig said.
According to data from Safar, PM10 level was recorded at 493 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm) and the PM2.5 level was around 450mpcm at 11:55 pm on October 30.
On October 31, at 4:15am, PM10 level was recorded at 750mpcm and PM2.5 level at 575mpcm. The recordings exceeded the permissible limit of 100mpcm and 60mpcm for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively.
In 2015, on Diwali day, PM10 was at 361.7mpcm and PM2.5 was at 350mpcm.
Noida’s PM10 and PM2.5 levels of 750mpcm and 575mpcm were the highest among the 10 monitoring stations of Safar located in Delhi-NCR.
The Uttar Pradesh pollution control board regional officer in Noida, Dr BB Awasthi, said that the worsening air quality in Noida is also because of the ongoing construction work on various projects — the elevated road, underpass and a metro line in the centre of the city.