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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Weather, green crackers give Noida, Gzb cleanest post-Dussehra air in 3 years

cities Updated: Oct 09, 2019 23:50 IST
Kushagra Dixit
Kushagra Dixit

Noida: Data showed that Dussehra celebrations on Tuesday across Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad were much cleaner than the previous two years, thanks to the use of green crackers, and favourable climactic conditions, experts said.

The air quality on Tuesday night, when compared to the Dussehra celebrations for the past two years — keeping meteorological conditions like temperatures and humidity in consideration — was well within moderate levels against the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories earlier. Ramlila committee managers, however, said that had the green crackers been available easily and at reasonable rates, celebrations would have been much more environment friendly.

The major particle pollutant, PM2.5, also remained well under control, ranging from 157 to 168 ug/m3 in Noida, against 382 to 417 units in 2018 and 324 and 337 units in 2017, according to the data from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB). In 2018, Dussehra was marked on October 19 when the effect of stubble burning was higher and temperatures were slightly less in 2017 when Dussehra was marked on September 30, with normal temperature and no stubble burning effect.

“The pollutants are more stagnant and do not settle easily when temperatures are lower and humidity is high. Though burning of effigies on Dussehra does not cause a mass level of air pollution as Diwali does, the burning does, however, affect the air quality,” said Gufran Beig, director, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (Safar).

The maximum and minimum temperatures this Tuesday was 32°C and 20.2°C respectively, while humidity oscillated between 84% and 41%, conditions that were abetted the dispersal of pollutants. Dussehra in 2017 saw a maximum and minimum temperatures of 36.1°C and 23.6°C, and humidity between 85% and 42%, while the festival in 2018 had the most unsupportive met conditions, with temperatures ranging from 33.7°C to 17.8°C, and humidity oscillating between 86% and 34%.

According to experts, it takes two to three hours after most of the burnings for pollutants to affect the air quality, which in the case of Dussehra was burning the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghnad at five separate locations of Noida and elsewhere, between 7.30pm and 8pm.

“This time, Dussehra seemed much cleaner and the 24-hour average of pollutants like PM2.5 are much lower than in the last few years,” said Shambhavi Shukla, senior research associate and air quality expert at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

In Noida, air quality monitoring stations at sectors 125 and 62 have been operational since 2017, while the monitoring stations at sectors 1 and 116 became operational in 2019.

The air quality index (AQI) between 10pm and midnight ranged between 107 and 135 at Sector 125 and 113 to 145 at Sector 62, all under the ‘moderate’ category. The same areas in 2018 saw AQI values ranging from 301 to 305 (very poor) and 287 and 288 (poor). In 2017, the AQI in the same areas were 207 to 223 (poor) and 152 to 195 (moderate).

In Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara area, the AQI in the same period on Tuesday oscillated between 130 and 152, while in 2018 it was 313 to 317, and in 2017 it was 261 to 288.

However, Ramlila committees said celebrations could have been polluted even less if green crackers were made easily available in the market.

“Last year, we used 20,000 sound-making crackers in three effigies alone. Apart from that, there were around 500 sky shots fireworks. This year, however, we used only 7,000 sound-making crackers and a few sky shots, which were all green, or far less polluting. We had to procure them through different vendors in Meerut, Moradabad and elsewhere, that too with limited stock. Had the government made them easily available, it would have been much more helpful,” said Sanjay Bali, treasurer of Noida stadium Ramlila committee, the largest in Noida.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 23:50 IST

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