COIMBATORE: Air pollution levels shot up in the city on Diwali day due to extensive use of fireworks.
Data collated by the Tamil Nadu pollution control board (TNPCB) revealed a four-fold increase in particulate matter (PM10) compared to the week before the festival.
TNPCB officials monitored pollution levels at Kavundampalayam, a residential area and the Coimbatore collectorate, a commercial area, to measure the difference.
While PM10 levels were found to be hovering between 23-53 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) before Diwali at Kavundampalayam, it touched 209ug/m3 on the Diwali day. On Wednesday, the day before Diwali, the levels touched the highest at 157ug/m3. As per the national ambient air quality standards, the daily safe limit of 100ug/m3 for PM2.5 should be maintained. PM2.5 level was found to be between 11 and 24ug/m3 before Diwali. It touched the highest of 66ug/m3 on Wednesday and 78ug/m3 on Diwali. 60ug/m3 is considered to be the safe limit.
PM10 levels on normal days at the collector’s office area was between 32-57ug/m3. It touched the highest of 124ug/m3 on Wednesday. On the festival day, it touched the highest of 203ug/m3. PM2.5 in the same area was 11 to 32, whereas it touched the highest of 50ug/m3 on Wednesday and 88 on Thursday.
Noise levels also increased significantly on the day of Diwali. At Kavundampalayam, the average noise level recorded between 6pm and 12am on Diwali was 73 decibels, an increase by 11 decibels compared to the same period on October 29. At collectorate, average noise level was 64 decibels on Diwali, an increase by five decibels compared to October 29
R Pandian, 65, a resident of Ganapathypudur, said he was relieved when the state government limited bursting of crackers to two hours a day. “But no one obeyed it. Crackers were burst for the third day on Friday. No action was taken against those who used crackers all day. I had breathing difficulty between 8pm and 10pm on Diwali, despite remaining indoors with doors and windows shut,” he told TOI.
It is not possible to check all streets to find violators, a police officer said. Seven cases were registered in the city and the rural police registered 32 cases, he added.


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