Bhubaneswar Air Quality worsens than Delhi on Diwali

Share It

Bhubaneswar: Environmentalists’ concerns about Diwali’s impact on air quality were validated, persisting despite the authorities and certain civil society groups’ efforts to regulate firecrackers. This underscores the ongoing challenges in mitigating Diwali’s environmental impact, emphasizing the necessity for sustained efforts to address air quality concerns during festive celebrations.
In a prior study, relying on pre-Diwali data sourced from CPCB records, the SwitchON research team conjectured that unless the use of traditional firecrackers is completely stopped and green crackers are significantly reduced and kept only during the prescribed hours, Bhubaneswar may transform into an inhospitable city on the night of Diwali, rendering the air quality highly unfavourable for breathing. Subsequent examination of data from CPCB monitors stationed in Patia and Lingaraj Mandir between November 9th and 13th (see annexure) revealed an unfavourable scenario bringing to reality the heightened concern about the drop in Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city as a victim of Diwali celebrations.

Figure 1: Air quality status of Bhubaneswar between 9th November and 13th November
1. According to the data, the air quality consistently deteriorated from the “Moderate” category to the “Very Poor” category over five days encompassing both pre and post-Diwali periods.
2. The CPCB station at Lingaraj Mandir registered the worst air quality on 13th November, with an AQI of 389, while the Patia station reported a slightly lower but still concerning AQI of 371. Both stations indicate a “Very Poor” air quality level in the city.
3. Within a day, on November 12th and 13th, Patia and Lingraj Mandir stations recorded a significant 60.61% and 34.60% increase in AQI, reflecting a rapid decline in the city’s air quality during the Diwali festivities.
Amidst the Diwali period, the city has witnessed a notable shift in circumstances during late autumn. The prevalent cause for the declining air quality is attributed to ground-level evidence of illicit firecracker usage. While reports indicate that Bhubaneswar did not encounter serious issues with the duration of firecracker discharges, the disconcerting revelation is the city’s residents not adhering to the guidelines set by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Consequently, there is a looming concern that citizens will endure highly polluted air in the days to come, posing a significant environmental challenge.
● To reduce the air pollution from firecrackers by at least 30% in terms of particulate pollution as per the CSIR-NEERI web portal, the government and authorities must ensure market saturation by green crackers only, well in advance of Diwali and other festivals, leaving no room for the manufacturing, supply, sale and purchase of traditional crackers.
● Stringent law enforcement is imperative, given that only a handful of people were arrested for the unauthorized use of firecrackers and violations of designated timeframes. The number does not correspond with the actual severity of the firecracker bursting on Diwali night.
● Citizens will have to earnestly adhere to judicial regulations, as non-compliance could be construed as a violation of the court’s directives. Such transgressions empower the court to intervene, potentially leading to the suspension of the event, and impacting the sentiments of millions of people.
Mr. Vinay Jaju, Managing Director, SwitchON Foundation said, “It was very surprising to see that Bhubaneswar’s air quality was worse than Delhi on the eve of Diwali. We have been consistently seeing that the air quality of Bhubaneswar has become poor just before Diwali and on the eve of Diwali and post Diwali, the air quality is very poor. Citizens of Bhubaneswar have to immediately pay a lot of attention to this and we have to ensure to keep Bhubaneswar the clean and green city we all have known it to be. Embracing sustainable practices is imperative for ensuring clean air.”

Share It
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.