Bhubaneswar Records ‘Moderate’ Air Quality Post Diwali

Bhubaneswar: The air quality was ‘moderately polluted’ on Diwali night in Bhubaneswar, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) officials said on Tuesday.

The officials said that the enforcement and regulation of timing from 8 pm to 10 pm of bursting firecrackers partially helped in keeping the pollution level of the city in check.

The OSPCB found higher levels, almost double the permissible limit, of PM10 and PM2.5 at six monitoring stations in Bhubaneswar. The level of PM10, a prominent pollutant in the air, jumped to an average of 169 mg/m3 in the city on Diwali night compared to the average of 108 mg/m3 on the pre-monitoring day of October 18, stated a TNIE report.

The air quality jumped to poor and nearly poor under Capital Police and Khandagiri police limits as the PM10 level in both areas remained at 212 mg/m3 and 195 mg/m3 respectively.

Likewise, the sulphur dioxide (SO2), which was Below Detection Limit (BDL) on the pre-monitoring day, remained in the range of 4.9 to 7.6 mg/m3 at four of six monitoring stations. The level jumped to 9.6 mg/m3 and 10.9 mg/m3 at Khandagiri and IRC-Village respectively.

The PM2.5 level also increased to 67 mg/m3 against the average 38 mg/m3 on the pre-monitoring day. At 80 mg/m3 the level of this pollutant was the highest in Palasuni area on Diwali night.

If PM10 is excess in ambient air, it can move up the upper respiratory airways and can cause infections and irritation, while PM2.5 can easily enter the lungs and can stay in the organ for a long time.

The city’s past record showed alarmingly higher PM10 in 2017 and 2016 as it fluttered between 324 and 190 mg/m3. In 2015, the maximum was 700 mg/m3.

“Prior to Diwali, the level of PM10 was below the permissible limit at many places and just above at two places. But after Diwali, PM10 has been found to be significantly higher. This happens on most Diwali, though it was on the lower side this time around,” TOI quoted senior environmental scientist Niranjan Mallick as saying.

Notably, the Central Pollution Control Board has divided the Air Quality Index into six categories in which a score between 0 and 50 is considered safe, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and above 400 as severe.

It is pertinent to mention here that Commissionerate Police issued guidelines on the bursting of firecrackers in Bhubaneswar allowing only for a period of two hours.

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