BHOPAL: The ambient air-quality index in Bhopal, though moderate, is touching the bar of 200 ahead of Diwali, as per the real-time figures from the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board. As per the regulations of Pollution Control Board, the AQI between 0-50 is ‘Good’, between 51-100 is ‘Satisfactory’, between 101-200 is ‘Moderate’, between 201-300 is ‘Poor’, between 301-400 is ‘Very poor’ and between 401-500 is ‘severe’.
The National Green Tribunal has released a notification, saying the areas with poor AQI should ban firecrackers and Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior has been identified as one such place.
The primary pollutant as identified by the board currently in the capital city is PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 is showing a tendency to rise to levels as high as 355 (Wednesday 4am).
But the AQI in the capital city is under 200 but nearly there. Some environmentalists in the city have raised concerns about the quality of air post Diwali, especially when the figures are already high.
The covid-induced lockdown proved that humans can control the rate of pollution, says a researcher Sneha Limaye. “But, when we can clearly see the levels are at high, we should at least take precautionary measures. The primary pollutants PM2.5 right now are so small that they are easily inhalable. The firecrackers produce an extremely high amount of PM2.5 within a short amount of time, the snake tablet producing a peak level of 64,850 mcg/m3.”
The air quality index at TT Nagar station in Bhopal though may have been under 200 (moderate to severe), but it has risen to levels over 300 in places such as Russali and Kasera Bazar, as per the real-time AQI calculator.
The regional officer of Madhya Pradesh Pollution Board, Brajesh Sharma, said, “The air quality index has been moderate for now. They do rise sometimes and go down too, but average is moderate and bursting firecrackers is permitted by NGT in such areas.”
“On the day of Diwali, AQI will not go beyond moderate during the day, but the calculation from evening may show variations higher than expected. This is the trend of every year. During the peak hours, everybody bursts firecrackers, making a thick cover of particulate matter. But Bhopal usually recovers soon,” he adds.