With increased awareness about the harmful effects of bursting crackers and several members of the Sikh community not participating in Diwali celebrations in protest against the repeated sacrilege incidents in Punjab, the air pollution level came down significantly in the city this time, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has said.
PPCB officials in Jalandhar had identified three zones — residential, commercial and sensitive — where respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) devices were installed to measure the air pollution level.
The exercise to monitor the pollution level was conducted at the ESI Hospital in Udham Singh Nagar (sensitive zone), sewerage board guest house (residential area) in GTB Nagar and the municipal corporation building (commercial area).
Earlier, a similar exercise was carried out at these locations on November 5.
The period for monitoring noise was from 6pm to 12 midnight while ambience monitoring was carried out the whole day.
Moreover, another team of officials with a dB (decibel) meter visited various areas, including hospitals, educational institutions and religious places, from 6pm to 12 midnight on Diwali to check the pollution level.
In the last few years, these zones have performed worse in terms of respirable suspended particulate matter concentration as the microgram-per-cubic metre was noticed much higher than the permissible limit of 100.
Likewise, against the permissible limit of 55 (dB), the noise pollution level in residential areas here in the past few years varied between 75 dB and 110 dB. Noise pollution was recorded from 50 dB to 60 dB this year.
Due to widespread use of firecrackers on Diwali and a day before, level of sulphur dioxide, which severely affects asthma patients, usually goes up but the trend was positive this time.
Moreover, since several members of the Sikh community did not celebrate Diwali following an appeal by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGCP) in the backdrop of sacrilege incidents the air pollution level came down.
PPCB senior environmental engineer Sandeep Bahl said they tried hard to raise awareness among residents to promote eco-friendly Diwali so that increasing air and noise pollution can be brought down.
“It is a welcome change in the city as we have held several awareness seminars in all schools and colleges besides appealing to the general public to stay away from bursting crackers that cause pollution. We encouraged them to observe green Diwali,” Bahl said.