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Noida, Gzb breathe easier but pollution remains over permissible limit

In a recent meeting held in Delhi, three areas — Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, Anand Vihar in Delhi and Ghaziabad in UP — were declared as prone to high levels of air pollution

noida Updated: Oct 20, 2017 21:54 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
The readings of PM10 and PM2.5, however, increased to 458 µg/m³ and 464 µg/m³, respectively, at 4pm on Friday.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

Residents did burst crackers this Diwali on Thursday but not as many as last year it seems. The recent Supreme Court ban on the sale of firecrackers helped reduce the pollution levels in Ghaziabad and Noida.

Although the recordings of particulate matter — PM10 and PM2.5 — were lower than those of last years, these were many times higher than the permissible limits in both Noida and Ghaziabad.

In a recent meeting held in Delhi, three areas — Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, Anand Vihar in Delhi and Ghaziabad in UP — were declared areas with high levels of air pollution. In Ghaziabad, the PM10 reading was 632 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) while PM2.5 was recorded at 346 µg/m³, as per data available at Vasundhara’s online monitoring station on Friday. The limits for PM10 and PM2.5 are 100 µg/m³ and 60 µg/m³, respectively.

In 2016, when pollution levels rose to dangerous levels, following which the Supreme Court intervened, the PM10 level in Ghaziabad rose to dangerously high levels, recorded at 910 µg/m³ and 720 µg/m³ at Vasundhara and Model Town monitoring stations, respectively.

“This Diwali, my family celebrated without many problems. I must say that this is due to the Supreme Court ban on sale (of firecrackers) and the directions must be implemented for a longer duration. Last year, the situation was very bad; my elderly parents and children could not venture out of our home for nearly a week,” said Vikrant Sharma, an environmentalist and a resident.

The PM10 level recorded
last year was the highest since 2013, when it was recorded at
900 µg/m³.

The PM10 level was at 427 µg/m³ and 410 µg/m³ in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Residents of Kaushambi locality woke up to a smog-covered skyline on Friday, as the PM10 and PM2.5 were recorded at 782 µg/m³ and 416 µg/m³, respectively, at 8.45am. However, the level of the pollutants declined steeply as the day progressed and by 4pm, PM10 was at 398 µg/m³ and PM2.5 was 114 µg/m³.

“Residents were worried and apprehensive that conditions similar to 2016 will prevail. However, with temperature still high, the pollution levels came down and even the smog did not sustain, unlike in 2016,” said VK Mittal, president of Kaushambi Apartment Residents’ Welfare Association (KARWA).

A reverse trend was witnessed in Noida.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data, the PM10 level stood at 169 µg/m³ and PM2.5 level stood at 299 µg/m³ at 9.15am on Friday.

The readings of PM10 and PM2.5, however, increased to 458 µg/m³ and 464 µg/m³by 11.30am and was at 438 and 448, respectively, by 4pm.

On the other hand, the pollution control board officials said that the situation will improve soon. In 2016, the post-Diwali recordings of PM10 and PM2.5 for Noida were at 750 µg/m³ and 575 µg/m³, respectively.

“Things are going to improve each day due to the persisting climatic conditions. Last year, there was a lot of moisture in the air that held the suspended particulate matter for long. But it is hotter this time around, which will help the particles settle quicker,” said BB Awasthi, regional manager for UP pollution control board, Gautam Budh Nagar.

He added that the Supreme Court ban paid off as there was a reduction in the bursting of crackers in Noida. The air quality is far better than the previous Diwali, which is evident from SAFAR recordings.

Echoing similar views, the president of the federation of Noida residents’ welfare associations, NP Singh, said, “The Supreme Court ban provided a big relief to the citizens. There was hardly any air and noise pollution. Bursting of crackers must be banned completely on all festivals and other social events.”

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 21:47 IST