Same old smog and dance: Pollution levels in Dehradun shoot up as Diwali draws closer
Sources said the respirable suspended particulate matter, which should have ideally been in the range of 100 ug/m3, has already crossed the 130 ug/m3 mark. Although sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide still remain under control, all three are expected to witness a steep rise during the festival.dehradun Updated: Oct 17, 2017 18:03 IST
Experts predict a steep deterioration in Dehradun’s air standards during Diwali, with pollutant levels already starting to cross the permissible limit.
Alarming observations were made by air monitoring units set up at various places across the state capital by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) on October 12. Sources said the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), which should have ideally been in the range of 100 ug/m3, has already crossed the 130 ug/m3 mark. Although the other two components – sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide – still happen to be under control, all three are expected to witness a steep rise during the festival.
“RSPM are suspended particles that cause breathing problems, lung infections, damage to vocal cords, and irritation in the eyes, ears and nose. It also leads to problems like bronchitis, among others,” Brijmohan Sharma, secretary of the Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists, told HT.
Delhi is acutely affected by air pollution and smog every year, due to which the Supreme Court imposed a temporary ban on the sale of crackers in the national capital region earlier this month. Though Dehradun also witnesses a high level of pollution during the festive season, officials said it fares relatively better than the national capital in this regard.
“RSPM levels remain high through the year, and there’s nothing new about that. The concentration of pollutants in the air increases after Diwali too, but the situation is nowhere as alarming as Delhi,” said SS Rana, regional officer at the UEPPCB.
The RSPM in Dehradun was as high as 370 ug/m3 – over three times the permissible limit – during the 2016 edition of Diwali (celebrated on October 30). However, even that was seen as an improvement over the previous year, when RSPM levels touched 422 ug/m3.
Air quality is monitored at four points in the Uttarakhand capital: the inter-state bus terminal, Clock Tower, Nehru Colony and Rajpur Road. Noise levels, monitored at 13 places across the city, were also found to be above the permissible level.