Pollution soared on Diwali night thanks to ‘inversion’

HT Correspondent

The highly publicised anti-cracker campaign seemed to have died with a whimper in Delhi with Diwali this year being more polluted and noisy than in the recent past.

The Delhi Government on Thursday tried hard to put the blame on an atmospheric condition called ‘inversion’. This condition sets in due to low night temperature and wind speed less than .28 metre per second. It created stable atmospheric conditions, preventing the dispersal of pollutants into the air.

Delhi Health Minister Dr AK Walia admitted the air in Delhi on Wednesday night caused more damage to Delhi'ites health than during previous years. He, however, blamed the weather gods for it.

The figures related to ‘suspended particulate matter' (SPM) showed an increase at all 30 centres where the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) set up facilities to measure ambient air quality and noise pollution. The centres included Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony and Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Daryaganj, Vasant Vihar, Moti Bagh, Rohini, Janak Puri and Rajpur Road.

The concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) also increased at 26 locations on Wednesday evening. At places, like Mandavali in East Delhi, CO concentration was almost double of the 1999 and 2000 level. The Delhi Government, however, said that “CO levels declined at 4 locations.'' These were Vasant Kunj, Lajpat Nagar, Karol Bagh and Shalimar Bagh.

Further, the findings also reveal that crackers this year did what they are best at — belching filth into the sky and rattling your eardrums. Air pollution shot up at most places, and at places it doubled.

At only 10 places, the noise levels were less than last year’s. The Delhi Government will find it hard to explain whether the ‘atmosheric inversion’ really caused high noise pollution or the failure of the anti-cracker campaign resulted in a higher level.

The concentration of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in air also increased in most locations. But the Government pointed out that SO and NOX values decreased at 13 and five locations.