The slump in economy and increased awareness on harmful effects of crackers has made at least one institution happy, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).
The PPCB, which conducts a survey of five major cities across the state every year on two broad parameters — the air pollution level and the noise pollution — expects a cleaner Diwali, especially in Patiala, as the royal city has a record of being among the less polluted among Patiala, Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar.
PPCB engineer Charanjeet Singh said, “Over the past two-three years, pollution has seen a dip. Most of the credit for this goes to efforts by the school in spreading awareness against crackers. We expect the trend to continue this year,” he added.
What is measured and how?
PPCB fits its equipment and gives the public the broad idea of how polluted the cities are on two broad parameters. These are Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) for air and sound level in decibels.
Even as Patiala might be a little better than its competition of these criteria, but its air and sound pollution also far exceeds the permissible level.
RSPM refers to the term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.
Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.
Pollution caused due to these is measured in terms of what is their concentration per cubic metre of air as in the more the concentration, the more harm these pollutants can cause.
Typically, air in which the concentration of these particulates is less than 100 micrograms is clean and is considered not polluted. A microgram is very small unit of matter and is 1 gm divided into 10 lakh parts.
Remembers, these are the particles that we can actually inhale and thus has a direct adverse impact on our lungs.
For RSPM, the PPCB will update data every 8 hours on Wednesday by checking the emission of gases, including sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide regularly. These are among the main gases that are considered to be among the main RPSM gases and are the most harmful.
Monitoring devices have been installed separately in residential, commercial and sensitive areas in each of these five cities.
Officials will calculate the data from Friend’s colony, Focal Point and Rajindra Hospital in Patiala. The figures recorded will be made public by the end of the week, officials said.
What does noise level mean?
In terms of noise we usually encounter in normal life, a sound between 101-125 dB is considered extremely loud.
110 decibels and over is the level at which other sounds can’t really be heard. Aircraft takeoff, trains, and very loud concerts would fall into the 110+ decibels.
At decibels 125+, the sound is painful and this is the sound that is produced when a rocket takes off. Anything above 90dB requires the use of earplugs.
MP appeals for safe Diwali
Patiala Member of Parliament Dharamvira Gandhi appealed the city residents to celebrate a pollution-free Diwali. There are cases where people especially in old age has suffered heart problems during excess smoke. “Diwali is a festival of lights, not of crackers. People, therefore, should resist bursting crackers, he added.