Less sound, lesser smoke but air still bad in Dehradun after Diwali
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Less sound, lesser smoke but air still bad in Dehradun after Diwali

Air quality better than last year, however, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter still above desired limit.

dehradun Updated: Oct 20, 2017 20:09 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Diwali,Air pollution
Air pollution levels this Diwali showed a “marked improvement” in Dehradun as compared to last year. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT )

Air pollution levels showed a “marked improvement” in the state capital as compared to last Diwali, though the parameters were still above the permissible limits, data released by the state pollution control board on Friday revealed.

The Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) recorded air quality data at three monitoring sites in Dehradun. Of these, Clock Tower and Nehru Colony witnessed a significant decline in levels of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) – fine pollutant particles suspended in the air that are considered hazardous for respiration – as compared to last year’s Diwali.

While RSPM levels at Clock Tower fell from 240 microgram per cubic meter (ug/m3) to 166.17 ug/m3 from last Diwali, at Nehru Colony, the figures saw a dip from 369.9 to 273.44 ug/m3 as compared to the last year’s festival--celebrated on October 30, 2016. Of the three places, the RSPM levels exhibited a slight jump only at Raipur Road from 253.12 to 267.78 ug/m3.

“As per our data analysis, the air quality showed an overall improvement as compared to last Diwali. Last year, people of Doon woke up to a lot of smog (caused by air pollution) a day after Diwali, but this time, the atmosphere was quite clear (on Friday),” said SS Rana, regional officer at UEPPCB.

What is still a matter of concern is that the pollution level was still above the standard limit of RSPM, which is 100 ug/m3 for 24 hours.

Officials, however, said the RSPM levels “even otherwise remained higher round the year”, with the daily average fluctuating above the standard levels.

The air quality data for the other two parameters--sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen– also recorded a decline from last Diwali’s figures and remained “well within control” vis-a-vis the standard limit for both, which is 80 ug/m3 for 24 hours.

Noise pollution levels recorded by the UEPPCB at 12 locations across the city also witnessed a decline in at least seven of those places.

Environment campaigners, who ran a series of campaigns appealing residents to celebrate a cracker-free Diwali, welcomed the development with “cautious optimism”.

“This (improvement from last Diwali) is indeed a positive sign, though we believe that we (residents) can still do a lot better to further bring down the pollution levels of the city,” said Abhijay Negi, founding president of Making A Difference-by Being the Difference, a city-based green activist group.

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 20:09 IST