Not only noise pollution, the industrial city also witnessed an increase in air pollution level on Diwali night. Despite 50% decline in the sale of crackers this year, the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) was recorded slightly increased in the sensitive and commercial zones as compared to the last year.
The percentage of sulphur dioxide was recorded more than last year in commercial and sensitive areas. As many people claimed to have observed green Diwali, the figures of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Ludhiana showed a rise in air and noise pollution levels.
Against the 505 microgram/cubic metre RSPM at Vishwakarma Chowk (commercial area) on Diwali in 2013, the RSPM was recorded 546 microgram/cubic metre this year. Besides, the RSPM was 362 microgram/cubic metre in sensitive area (near Sheela Hospital) in 2014, while it was recorded 308 in 2013 there.
However, there was little relief for people in residential zone where the pollution level went down, as the RSPM was recorded 316 microgram/cubic metre this Diwali in residential zone (near Verka Milk Plant). It was recorded 335 microgram/cubic metre in 2013.
Ludhiana PPCB chief environmental engineer Gulshan Rai said, “We recorded a little rise in pollution level this year. We had also recorded the pollution level a week before Diwali when the level of RSPM was recorded very low as compared to the Diwali night.”
A week before Diwali, on October 15, 2014, the RSPM was recorded 272 microgram/cubic metre in commercial zone, 183 in residential zone and 250 microgram/cubic metre in sensitive zone.
Earlier, HT highlighted that the average noise level was recorded at 75.48decibels (dB) in residential area, while 78.35dB was recorded in the commercial area. Besides, the sensitive area witnessed a noise level of 74.78dB on Diwali this year. Tribhuvan Thappar, a member of the Ludhiana Wholesale Fireworks Association, said, “We have witnessed 50% decline in the sale of crackers this year. Residents may have kept old stocks of crackers, which were used this year on Diwali.”
On the other hand, the cases of respiratory problems were reported in large numbers at the city hospitals after Diwali. “Though the sale of crackers has declined, it is a matter of concern that the level of air and noise pollution has increased. The authorities concerned should take initiative to create more awareness among people,” said Arvind Sharma, a resident.