City’s Air Quality Index this Deepavali better than last year’s
The pandemic as well as the rules allowing only green firecrackers helped mute pollution levels this Deepavali. The Air Quality Index (AQI) during the last three days in the city showed that air pollution levels had reduced by 30.34% when compared with the corresponding festival days in 2019, as per data available with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
The data shows that the average AQI from November 14 to 16 this year — measured at seven locations in the city — was 55.62. The average AQI in the city measured at the same seven locations during the three Deepavali days in 2019 was 81.29. In both years, the air quality was categorised as satisfactory. Noise levels were also marginally down compared to last year.
Sreenivasulu, member secretary, KSPCB, said the data clearly indicated that pollution levels due to bursting of crackers had significantly come down during the festival. “Due to widespread awareness on how bursting firecrackers will induce air pollution and may worsen the COVID-19 situation, people seemed to have paid heed. Green crackers would have also contributed to lowering pollution levels,” he said.
However, the enforcement of green cracker rule was a challenge and not effective, even civic and police authorities conceded. Most of the shops put up in the city’s playgrounds were selling regular crackers unchecked. Storekeeper Prasad R. from North Bengaluru said that on an average, certified green crackers made up less than 30% at most of the shops selling firecrackers. “However, the sale of crackers was less than half of last year’s turnover, leading to huge losses,” he said. This only indicates that more than enforcement of the green cracker rule, people not bursting crackers seems to have contributed more to lower pollution levels in the city during the festival.
The KSPCB data also shows that air quality improved by 46.7% in the city compared to a normal day, as measured on November 9. However, that may be attributed to the location of these AQI monitors. Most of them are placed at busy junctions, which saw less vehicular traffic during the festival days. Many residential areas across the city saw people bursting crackers on all three days.
However, two AQI monitors at Basaveshwara Nagar and Jayanagar 5th Block, two residential pockets also saw an improvement in AQI levels, indicating bursting crackers had dropped from the previous year.