Andhra witnessed less air pollution this Diwali compared to previous years

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Air pollution levels this Diwali were less than in previous years. All four Real-Time Monitoring Air Quality Index (AQI) Stations in the State — at Visakhapatnam, Tirumala, Velagapudi and Rajamahendravaram — recorded a dip in pollution owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. All stations recorded air quality that was either moderate or satisfactory on Diwali.

The AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) took up a survey based on guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) following the Supreme Court’s orders to carry out studies in cities for 14 days, starting seven days prior to Diwali. As part of the court’s guidelines, the APPCB officials carried out a pre-survey in all four cities on November 9 to check the ambient air quality levels between 6 pm and midnight, and similarly on November 14, when Diwali was celebrated.

APPCB junior scientific officer BV Prasad told TNIE on Monday that readings from the four AQI stations are usually taken between 6 and 10 pm on Diwali, when most crackers are burst. This year, the AQI at Visakhapatnam at 8 pm touched 425, which is severe. However, the overall reading stood at 117 (moderate). In 2019, the 24-hour average AQI in Visakhapatnam on Diwali was 326, which is very poor, he added.

The official further said plans are on to set up a 24-hour Real Time Monitoring AQI station in Vijayawada. The AQI value near Velagapudi, Amaravati was 74 (satisfactory) on Saturday evening, as against 43 (good) on Diwali last year. In Rajahamahendravaram, the AQI value was 113 (moderate) on Saturday evening, as against 311 (very poor) on Diwali last year. With this, the AQI value reduced three times in Rajamahendravaram, he pointed out.In Tirumala, the AQI value has been below 50 for two consecutive years, as Diwali is celebrated without bursting crackers. 

What led to the drop in pollution levels?
People were aware about air pollution and chose not to burst crackers, APPCB junior scientific officer BV Prasad said, adding that there was uncertainty about the sale of crackers this year

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