Best pre-Diwali air in 7 years to ‘very poor’ in just 2 days

  • | Tuesday | 14th November, 2023

NOIDA/GHAZIABAD: The air quality in Noida and Ghaziabad slipped from being the best in seven years to very poor before and after Diwali. Noida, for instance, recorded an AQI of 156 a day ahead of Diwali, 189 on Diwali and 355 the day after on Monday. Similarly, Greater Noida logged 130, 156 and 332 on these three days. Readings in Ghaziabad, meanwhile, showed 160, 186 and 318.It was the first time that AQI in the three cities was in the moderate category in the last seven years on Diwali eve, the improvement was attributed to intermittent rainfall on November 10 and wind speeds favourable for the dispersion of pollutants.Track the pollution level in your cityFrom 2017 to 2022, the air quality has been either in the poor (200-300) or above — Ghaziabad breathing its worst pre-Diwali air at 408 (severe) in 2017 and Noida and Greater Noida at 347 and 351 (both very poor), respectively, in 2018.Pollutants in the air started to increase around Sunday evening when people started bursting crackers and peaked around midnight amid low temperatures. In many areas, including Ghaziabads Sanjay Nagar, Noidas Sector 62 and Greater Noidas Knowledge Park V, the concentration of PM2.5 grazed near 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre in the early morning hours.The safe limit of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the respiratory system and trigger respiratory problems — is 60 micrograms per cubic metre.Noida recorded an AQI of 226 in 2022, 327 in 2021, 337 in 2020, 280 in 2019, 347 in 2018 and 315 in 2017 on Diwali eve. On Diwali last year, AQI stood at 305, 404 in 2021, 425 in 2020, 358 in 2019, 288 in 2018 and 266 in 2017.The citys AQI a day after Diwali stood at 299 last year and 470 in the year preceding it. It was recorded in the severe category between 2017 and 2020, except for 2019 when it was in the upper levels of very poor at 396.In Greater Noida, which breathed hazardous air quality for nearly two weeks starting October 28 with a suffocating haze lingering over the city during the period, last year recorded AQIs at 202, 274 and 272 on Diwali eve, the day of the festival and a day after it, respectively. In 2021, the AQIs were recorded at 286, 332 and 464; 336, 394 and 417 in 2020; 248, 325 and 375 in 2019; 351, 278 and 410 in 2018. The 2017 data for Greater Noida is not available.Meanwhile, Ghaziabads AQI was 270, 300 and 266 last year on the three days. In 2021, it was 353, 419 and 470; in 2020 it was 382, 456 and 448; in 2019 it was 235, 395 and 396; in 2018 it was 334, 295 and 442; and in 2017 it was 408, 323 and 412 on the three days.Delhi, meanwhile, recorded its best air quality on Diwali day in eight years on Sunday with its 24-hour average AQI settling at 218 at 4 pm. Its AQI stood at 275 at 7am on Monday and gradually rose to 358 by 4pm.The capital recorded an AQI of 312 on Diwali last year, 382 in 2021, 414 in 2020, 337 in 2019, 281 in 2018, 319 in 2017 and 431 in 2016, according to CPCB data. The citys AQI a day after Diwali stood at 360 in 2015, 445 in 2016, 403 in 2017, 390 in 2018, 368 in 2019, 435 in 2020, 462 in 2021 and 303 in 2022.Its evident that the spike in pollution levels post Diwali is due to two factors -- firecracker bursting and farm fires -- with fireworks being the predominant reason in this case, an official of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a statutory body responsible for formulation of strategies to reduce pollution in Delhi-NCR, said. Transport is another major cause of pollution in the city, contributing 12% to 14% to Delhi-NCRs foul air, the CPCB data shows.

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