Marginal dip in air pollution levels when compared to last Deepavali in some parts of Bengaluru
When compared with the previous year, some parts of Bengaluru saw a marginal dip in the air pollution levels during the three days of Deepavali (November 12–14), according to the data from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
The data showed that the average Air Quality Index (AQI) in the KSPCB station of Jayanagara on the first day of Deepavali was 214 this year whereas it was 254 in the previous year. On the second day, it was 312 (very poor category) in 2022 whereas this year, it was 248 (poor category). The average AQI for the three days was 234 against the previous year’s 257.
Similarly, at the Kavika station the AQI levels were under the very poor category (301 – 400) on all three days whereas this year, on the first day, it was just 171 which falls under the moderate category. The AQI levels on the other two days were 212 and 252, respectively.
Spike from pre-Deepavali
A similar pattern was also noticed in the Silk Board station. However, when compared with the pre-Deepavali numbers, there was a definite spike in all stations. On November 5, this year, the AQI at Jayanagara was 43, at Kavika it was 42 and at Silk Board station, it was just 35, the data showed.
In all the other stations in Bengaluru and most stations across the State, there was an increase in the AQI levels when compared to the previous year.
“Across the State, including Bengaluru, there have been some variations in air quality because of Deepavali firecrackers. But the noise pollution levels have come down. We had created awareness in Bengaluru to protect it from becoming a gas chamber like Delhi. However, the pollution levels were not as low as we had expected,” said Eshwar Khandre, Forest and Ecology Minister.
However, when compared to other cities in the country, Bengaluru performed better in terms of pollution this year according to a report released by National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) tracker. The tracker analysed PM 2.5 levels in 11 capital cities on the day before Deepavali (November 11), the day of Deepavali (November 12) and the day after Deepavali (November 13) based on the data from Central Pollution Control Board.
According to it, Bengaluru recorded lower PM 2.5 averages this year when compared to 2022 on all three days and on November 13, Bengaluru recorded the lowest PM 2,5 average among the 11 cities which were analysed.
Monitors not suited for hyperlocal hotspots: expert
The air pollution monitoring stations of KSPCB in Bengaluru are located in areas like city railway station, Hebbal, Peenya and NIMHANS where there are not many residences. Since the bursting of firecrackers takes place mostly in residential areas, experts believed that these monitoring stations might not be able to capture the pollution levels accurately.
“As it is a cost intensive equipment and process, they (KSPCB) cannot cover every residential neighbourhood where firecrackers are blasted. Hence, these monitors might not be best suited to capture hyper local hotspots of pollution,” said R. Subramanian, Sector Head – Air Quality at CSTEP.
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