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Chandigarh

CHANDIGARH-Cleanest air on Diwali since 2017

November 16, 2020 05:54 AM

COURTESY HT NOV 16

Cleanest air on Diwali since 2017
All AQI monitoring stations recorded a dip, with Sector 39 registering highest pollution at AQI 314

Rajanbir Singh

rajanbir.singh@htlive.com

Chandigarh : Pollution levels on Diwali were at their lowest since 2017 with the firecracker ban in place and fears of contracting Covid-19 keeping many people indoors.

Debendra Dalai, vice-president of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC), which maintains a record of the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) since 2017, said, “At the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station in Sector 25, the maximum AQI on the day of Diwali remained at 140, even as it had gone up to 341 in 2019 on Diwali.”

The firecracker ban, Dalai said, had some success due to people’s cooperation. “We hope the AQI will continue to stay in the moderate bracket now (between 100-200),” he added.

According to the data, of all five stations that measure AQI in the city, the highest AQI of 314 (very poor) was recorded at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Sector 39. Last year, the AQI was 352 here. Such conditions can lead to respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. Apart from Sector 39, other stations monitoring AQI recorded a dip, with Sector 17 registering 227 (poor). Although this was lower as compared to 247 in 2019, it was still higher than levels recorded in 2018 and 2017 (see box).

“No firecrackers were burst in Sector 17, but AQI remained high probably because of the footfall here. The roads were crowded with vehicles and the footfall was equivalent to Diwali in previous years despite the pandemic,” said Neeraj Bajaj, president of the Business Promotion Council in Sector 17.

The good news was that Sunday evening’s rain spell cleared the air considerably. “Rain brings down the suspended particles in the air reducing the AQI,” said Surender Paul, director, India Meteorological Department, Chandigarh.

 

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