Diwali revelries lead to spurt in pollution levels in capital

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) An analysis of ambient air quality data during Diwali this year in Delhi, done by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), shows that levels of particulates and gases like PM10, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide increased significantly.

The Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter or PM10 levels increased by nearly two times, compared to the Diwali last year, while exceeding the standard (75 microgrammes per cubic metre) by 4.6 times, said the CSE in its report.

It said Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels increased by nearly 1.5 times, as compared to last year's figures. This year the levels exceeded the standard (30 microgrammes per cubic metre) by 2.8 times.

This year, Sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels in Tughlaqabad (CSE) increased slightly but remained much lower than the standard.

In other monitoring locations of CPCB, a comparison of online data between 2100 hrs during the night of Diwali to the early morning of November 10 shows that SO2 concentration has increased two to three times at ITO and Siri Fort within a span of 6 hours.

''This is a clear sign of pollution from crackers. In fact, the CPCB monitoring locations showed a spurt in SO2 levels in 2006 as well,'' said CSE director Sunita Narain.

For the past few days, CSE has been warning the people of Delhi of peaking air pollution levels due to massive spurt in car numbers and the increasing use of diesel. These levels have almost reached a critical stage, and we barely have any space left for any more pollution during this time, she said.

''We need to act, and we need to act now,'' said Sunita Narain, director, CSE.

The CSE monitored the air quality at the Tughlakabad Institutional Area in South Delhi, and also analysed the findings of the online data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board in other locations across the city.

The CSE's analysis reinforces the contention that time is ticking out for Delhi, she said.

The city's air pollution levels are already threatening to spiral out of control, and a smoggy Diwali can easily make matters worse.

Tughlakabad Institutional Area, where CSE itself monitored the levels, falls under the category of 'sensitive area' due to the presence of Batra hospital and some educational institutions.

UNI

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