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Opinion

Air quality in Kolkata worsens on Diwali night

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The air quality in Kolkata became poorer on Sunday night compared to 24 hours ago on Kali puja and Diwali day, but it was still better compared to that recorded one day after the festivals last year, An official from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board Said.

The air quality index (AQI) was higher than Saturday’s figure for the entire city. Although air quality remained “poor” in northern Kolkata, it remained moderate elsewhere.

The automated air monitoring station on the Rabindra Bharati University campus in congested North Kolkata recorded the AQI at 287 (PM 2.5) at 8pm on Sunday while it was 226 at the same time on Saturday, the official said. by WBPCB.

An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’, while the AQI above 500 falls into the severe plus category.

Read also | Kolkata residents create Diwali history by avoiding fireworks

On Sunday, the AQI was 187 in Ballygunge in the south of Kolkata, 186 in Victoria in the central part of the city and 146 in Bidhan Nagar of eastern Kolkata. On Saturday’s Diwali night, the AQI at those three locations was 142, 115, and 151 respectively.

The AQI measured at Rabindra Bharati University was above 700 on Kali Puja and Diwali nights in 2019, the official said. However, the AQI in other parts of the city had ranged between 300 and 500.

Diwali is celebrated during the transition of two seasons, after the monsoon and before winter, when weather conditions do not allow the dilution and dispersal of pollutants due to the low atmospheric boundary layer, low ventilation and low wind speed, he said. the official.

In this transition phase, the ambient temperature, particularly at night, decreases and allows all pollutants to come close to ground level, especially on all Indo-Gangetic plains, he said.

The impact of the firecracker explosion was alarming in 2019, and this year there was a total ban on fireworks. But the nighttime temperature decline was very significant, he said, and he attributed the rise in AQI to nighttime temperature conditions.

The Kolkata High Court last week ordered a blanket ban on the use of fireworks in West Bengal during Kali puja, Diwali, Chhath and other pujas during this holiday season to curb pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In previous years, the WBPCB did not allow only firecrackers that emit more than 90 decibels of sound, and there was no ban on fireworks that emit light.

“Our control room is monitoring the situation 24×7 even today. We are comparing figures. Until now, the situation remains largely under control, ”he said.

Environmentalist SM Ghosh said: “Thanks to the court order, public awareness and the activities of the Kolkata Police, health experts and NGOs, air pollution is less.

However, there shouldn’t be any laxity, as the AQI level in the ‘poor’ causes breathing problems for people, he said.

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