Pollution levels in Punjab on Diwali have gone down by 30% as compared to previous years, the data gathered by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has shown.
Though the PPCB is patting itself on the back claiming that pollution had come down because of its sustained drive of appealing to public to observe a Green Diwali, the fact is that the Diwali this year remained a low-key affair as Sikhs boycotted the celebrations and didn’t burst crackers.
However, the data of previous five years shows that the pollution level is decreasing each year as people have started responding to the PPCB’s campaigns of ‘Say no to crackers’ and ‘Observe Green Diwali’.
As the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee did not hold a crackers show at Harmandar Sahib, the pollution in the periphery area has gone down. The PPCB pollution monitoring cell at Harmandar Sahib recorded the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) at 244, which last year was 363. Similarly, oxides of sulphur have gone down from 21 to 15 and that of nitrogen from 40 to 34.
Releasing the data, PPCB chairman Manpreet Singh Chatwal said, “It’s because of the awareness drive that the pollution level has come down as many people have shun crackers and are celebrating a green Diwali.” He said that for the past five years, the pollution level on Diwali had been decreasing every year.
He said the data showed that like previous years, Patiala recorded lesser pollution at 180 micrograms per square metre of air, while Amritsar recorded the highest pollution at 254 micrograms. Sulphur dioxide and nitorgen levels also remained low this year, as compared to those of the last year.
On the other hand, wholesale cracker trader Shamsher Singh said, “Due to the call given by Sikh radicals to observe Black Diwali in view of the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, the sale of crackers was halved. Besides, the market sentiment was also low because of a slowdown in real estate and other businesses.”