BENGALURU: Bengaluru experienced a breath of fresh air on Sunday night, first day of Deepavali festival. This is because the rain in the evening prevented people from bursting crackers.
Thirteen quality sensors were installed to check on the pollution levels in localities like Thubarahalli, Doddanekundi, Siddapura, Hoodi, EPIP-ITPL area, Kundalahalli junction and Whitefield.
When officials checked the pollution levels, they were surprised to see the air quality censors showing ‘very unhealthy’ pollution at 7.20pm when most people were out bursting crackers.
The areas showed PM 2.5 (particulate matter). The pollution levels had shot up to 218ugm3 (micrograms per cubic metre) in Doddanekundi, to 200ugm3 in the area opposite to Graphite India, 183ugm3 in EPIP zone in ITPL and 156 ugm3 in Thubarahalli.
However, within no time the rain began, the bursting of crackers stopped and the pollution levels came down. The same areas around 8.30pm recorded 32ugm3 in Doddanekundi, while 37ugm3 was shown near Graphite India, 39ugm3 in EPIP zone in ITPL, and 78 ugm3 in Thubarahalli.
“The moment people started bursting crackers, the pollution levels increased considerably. This shows how crackers can affect air pollution. When it rained, people stopped bursting crackers and pollution levels came down,” said Shiv Shankar, founder of mapshalli.org (website to check air quality) and Volunteer of Whitefield Rising.
“Though the rains helped bring down air pollution, for two hours, the particulate matter 2.5 concentrations were close to 200 micrograms due to bursting of crackers, taking it to a hazardous category,” said Sunil Dahiya, analyst (energy and air pollution), Greenpeace.
“The PM 2.5 prescribed standard is supposed to be under 60 micrograms. But anything above 10 micrograms is harmful to the environment and people’s health. Breathing difficulty, asthma, risk of heart attacks increase when particulate levels are between 10 and 50 micrograms. Unlike PM 10, PM 2.5 is small and can easily enter our lungs and bloodstream,” Dahiya said.