‘Very poor’ AQI, Gurugram still breathes easy

Residents feel SC ban on crackers’ sale helped bring down pollution and noise levels this year; want more such measures

October 21, 2017 01:33 am | Updated December 03, 2021 10:40 am IST - GURUGRAM

  Better future:  Though bursting of crackers increased after 6.30 p.m., it was certainly less compared to the previous years, said residents.

Better future: Though bursting of crackers increased after 6.30 p.m., it was certainly less compared to the previous years, said residents.

Even as Gurugram residents felt that the Supreme Court ban on the sale of crackers helped in bringing down noise and air pollution levels this Diwali, they stressed the need for continued efforts throughout the year and more stringent measures to curb the menace. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) officials also confirmed that the Air Quality Index in the Millennium City showed improvement due to decrease in pollution level this Diwali compared to the past year. However, it still was “very poor”.

Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, general secretary, Residents’ Welfare Association Sector-23A, said, “The SC direction had a huge impact. Didn’t feel like the usual Diwali. No loud noises, no smoke entering through closed doors, no burning eyes, no dirty streets to sweep the following day, no scared dogsno fluttering wings of pigeons...”. He added that most people, including youth, stayed inside.

Shona Chatterji, a resident of Silver Oaks, said, “Our complex was crackers’-free this year. Very proud of our residents. And all the volunteers who worked hard to make this happen.” Similarly, a resident of The Summit in DLF Phase-V, said that nobody in their building burst crackers. “One family came down, but went back instantly when they did not see anyone,” she said, on condition of anonymity.

Swati Juneja, a resident of Ireo Uptown, Sector 66, said that the noise pollution levels were certainly down this year. “Though the bursting of crackers increased after 6.30 p.m. on Diwali, however, it was certainly less compared to the previous years,” said Ms. Juneja.

Maintaining that the ban certainly helped create awareness and bring in significant restraint, Ruchika Sethi, who runs “Why Waste Your Waste” campaign, stressed that the awareness campaign to control pollution had to be sustained by the authorities.

“Gurugram ranks among the most polluted cities of India due to rapid urbanisation. We implore the city administration to put in place a comprehensive set of measures to cover all important factors of air pollution namely construction sites not adhering to National Green Tribunal guidelines, dumping of construction waste by roadsides, the rampant practice of waste burning as well as burning of tyres and wires and lack of public transport alternatives,” said Ms. Sethi.

In unanimity

Environmental analyst Chetan Agarwal said that the bursting of crackers was around one-third of what was last year suggesting that children and families had broadly agreed with the ban, and now it was time to address the round-the-year issues such as diesel-run vehicles and generator sets. Nirvana country’s resident, Puja Mishra, a professional artist, said that she supported the ban but the pollution levels were still very high as there were other bigger factors like stubble burning by farmers.

HSPCB regional officer Jai Bhagwan said that the AQI this year was around 350 compared on Diwali night to over 500 last year.

Mr. Bhagwan said that PM 2.5 level had also gone down from 400 micrograms per cubic metre to 240 micrograms per cubic metre as an average for 24 hours this Diwali.

However, the AQI continues to be “very poor” and PM 2.5 level is almost 4-5 times the prescribed limit.

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