After Diwali, Delhi’s residential areas may be more polluted than industrial ones
On Saturday, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar), the Union ministry of earth science’s weather and air pollution forecast wing, issued a list of ‘hot spots’ (highly polluted areas) post-Diwali, and it comprised mostly residential areas, owing to the anticipated impact of cracker bursting.Updated: Oct 27, 2019 04:30 IST
With pollution levels in the national capital expected to touch ‘severe’ levels after Diwali, experts say residential areas could see the maximum spike in particulate matter (PM), as opposed to the industrial areas that are usually responsible for the pollution spike.
On Saturday, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar), the Union ministry of earth science’s weather and air pollution forecast wing, issued a list of ‘hot spots’ (highly polluted areas) post-Diwali, and it comprised mostly residential areas, owing to the anticipated impact of cracker bursting.
While residential areas such as Okhla, Dwarka, Delhi University, Lodhi Road, Najafgarh, Mundka and Rohini, among others, have been identified as ‘hot spots’, industrial areas that otherwise remain polluted round the year, such as Narela and Bawana, among others, will remain less polluted, Safar said.
The warning comes at a time when preventive measures such as a ban on construction activities between 6pm and 6am and closure of polluting industries (those that have not switched to PNG) came into effect in Delhi-NCR on Saturday.
“Pollution could hit its peak between 1am and 6am on October 28. The forecast shows that most hot spots would be residential areas, as these are where the bursting of crackers would be seen the most. In industrial areas, it would be comparatively lesser,” Gufran Beig, programme director, Safar, said.
The projection of Delhi’s ‘hot spots’ and ‘soft spots’ (areas with lesser pollution) was done by models based on pollution levels reported the day after Diwali in 2018 and 2017, and other meteorological parameters.
This year, Delhi, for the first time, will be bursting green crackers that have 30% lesser emissions than traditional ones, in comparison to previous years when only traditional fireworks were available.
On Friday, Safar had said air quality may touch ‘severe’ level even if Delhi bursts half the amount of crackers (50%) that it had burnt last year.
“If fewer crackers are burnt this time, the air quality is expected to remain in the mid range of ’very poor’ category (between 301 and 400 of the air quality index) after the festival. Air quality is expected to dip after Diwali. However, strong surface winds on Monday and Tuesday will disperse pollutants. This is mainly because of an approaching western disturbance,” the analysis said.
According to weather experts, the western disturbance is expected to retreat from October 29. This will bring in more moisture-laden air with a capacity to retain pollutants and also lead to a dip in temperature — both not very ideal conditions for Delhi’s pollution graph.
“So far, this year, residents have been aware of the problems posed by rising pollution levels. All parents have decided not to burst crackers, not even the green versions. We, as a residential society, plan to have a peaceful Diwali sans crackers,” Sudha Sinha, general secretary, Federation of Cooperative Group Housing Society, Dwarka, said.