Diwali crackers turn air quality in ‘Severe’ air quality in Noida, Ghaziabad after Diwali to continue for 2-3 days

A day after Diwali, pollution levels in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad surged to the ‘severe’ category, data collected from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealed. The air quality in Noida was recorded at 432, which made it the second most polluted NCR city after Faridabad, which recorded an air quality index value of 455 on Thursday. Besides, the AQI values for Ghaziabad and Greater Noida stood at 422 and 410 respectively.

Officials attributed the sharp rise in pollution to the increase in local pollutants resulting from bursting of firecrackers on Diwali. The Supreme Court had, late last month, prohibited sale of firecrackers containing barium compounds that leave dangerous toxins in the air. The Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar district administration officials, however, issued 48 and 66 licences respectively for sale of crackers for Diwali.

Last year too, Ghaziabad and Noida had recorded ‘severe’ air quality a day after Diwali.

Kuldeep Srivastava, head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, Delhi, said, “After bursting of crackers, the local pollutants will stay in the air for two-three more days as there is almost zero wind speed. Moreover, with the temperature dipping further, the pollutants will likely to be dispersed slowly.”

The weather department official said the temperature is likely to increase in NCR around November 10 as there is likely to be a western disturbance.

AK Tiwari, regional manager of the UP pollution control board (UPPCB), said, “The air quality was in the ‘very poor’ quality till Thursday afternoon. It, however, spiked to ‘severe’ category only on Thursday evening. Industrial units and construction activities were shut and the number of vehicles on the roads is also less due to the holidays. So, the rise in pollution is due to the local pollutants that have accumulated after bursting of crackers.”

The Environment Pollution (Control & Control) Authority had directed the NCR authorities to shut all construction activities and industrial units that use coal and biomass as fuel till November 10.

An air quality index or AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe.”

The ‘severe’ AQI value is not a new feature for the three cities at the onset of the winter season. Ghaziabad on October 27-30 and November 5 has suffered ‘severe’ category pollution. On two successive days on October 29 and 30, the city also topped the list of most polluted cities across the country with AQI value at 430 and 451, respectively.

Likewise on October 30 and November 1, Noida also witnessed ‘severe’ category pollution. The Greater Noida and Noida witnessed same category on November 5 as well.

“The pollution figures remain high throughout the year in Delhi-NCR and they cannot be attributed only to bursting of crackers on Diwali. The road dust, vehicular and industrial pollution area also major contributory factors,” said Akash Vashistha, an environmentalist.

First Published: Nov 09, 2018 14:37 IST

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