GUWAHATI: Poor air quality index (AQI) in the capital till Saturday morning worried scientists as Guwahati is unlikely to regain the pre-Diwali air quality level till the next three days.
The National Air Quality Index maintained by the Central PCB stated that the AQI was recorded to be poor at Pan Bazar in the heart of the city till 4 am on Saturday. The air quality in Guwahati turned poor from moderate from Thursday as firecrackers were burst beyond the two-hour window from 8 pm to 10 pm notified by the state PCB.
While Kali Puja was observed on Thursday, in Assam, most people celebrated Diwali on Friday. In other parts of the country, however, Diwali was celebrated on Thursday itself.
Assam Pollution Control Board (PCB) chairman Arup Kumar Misra expressed concern on bursting of firecrackers at a few places even on Saturday in Assam. “Despite our best efforts, on Thursday and Friday the AQI turned poor in Guwahati. We could not control it despite our appeal. Till Wednesday, AQI in all towns and cities were under control,” said Misra.
He added that the recovery in air quality in the city may take about three to four days considering the dip in temperature.
According to the Central PCB, breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure is the possible health impact of poor AQI.
At 208, the average AQI for the last 24 hours published by the Central PCB at 4 pm on Saturday was poor. But in other capitals of NE states, the festival of lights however could not tarnish the air quality. The index value for Shillong and Aizawl has been good, whereas in Kohima the same has been satisfactory as per the Saturday evening report. In Agartala, the air quality in the last 24 hours (as of 4 pm on Saturday) improved to moderate level with the index value at 127. No data was available for Itanagar and Imphal with the Central PCB.
In NE, the average AQI for the past 24 hours published at 4 pm on Friday were poor in Agartala and Guwahati. Though the air quality in Agartala improved on Saturday, in Guwahati, the poor tag remained intact on Saturday as well. Some of the city residents continued to burst crackers even at odd hours on Saturday evening as well, with the administration remaining a mute spectator.
“Since Guwahati is surrounded by hills, the polluted air cannot spread out easily like in other metro cities. It remains within the city,” said environment expert Jagat Deka, an assistant engineer at the state PCB.


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