AQI in Kolkata spikes on Deepavali night due to bursting of firecrackers

Firecrackers were busted late at night on Deepavali evening and about 361 people were arrested on Sunday night in the city

Updated - November 15, 2023 04:10 pm IST

Published - November 13, 2023 10:48 am IST - Kolkata

Bursting of crackers on Deepavali evening resulting in deterioration in AQI in Kolkata  Photo

Bursting of crackers on Deepavali evening resulting in deterioration in AQI in Kolkata Photo | Photo Credit: DEBASISH BHADURI

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Kolkata deteriorated in Kolkata on Deepavali night because of late-night bursting crackers.

Data from the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) revealed that PM 2.5 concentration at Ballygunge, Victoria Memorial, Salt Lake exceeded 400 micrograms per cubic metres. 

The monitoring stations at Fort William recorded PM 2.5 of 83.2 micrograms per cubic metre at 8 p.m. which increased to 584.5 at 2 a.m. The monitoring station at Ballygunge registered a similar spike in PM 2.5 from 76.3 micrograms at 8 p.m. to 384 at 2 p.m. The monitoring station at Victoria Memorial showed a spike of PM 2.5 from 89.1 at 8 p.m. to 583 at 2 a.m.

Firecrackers were busted late at night on Deepavali evening and about 361 people were arrested on Sunday night in the city for bursting crackers. The people of the city also had to battle the increased decibel level because of the bursting of crackers. About 653 kg of crackers was seized on Sunday night.

The AQI also increased from evening to late in the night. Data released by SwitchON Foundation pointed out that at Rabindra Bharati, the AQI rose from 160 at 9 p.m. to 176 at 1 a.m., reflecting a significant increase of 10%. Similarly, at Rabindra Sarobar, the AQI increased from 202 to 214, resulting in a 5.94% increase.

“The favourable weather conditions prevented a more severe escalation in AQI, highlighting the potential for even worse conditions if weather factors were less favourable. This emphasizes the ongoing significance of addressing the issue of firecracker bursting and its impact on AQI in Kolkata and other cities,” a press statement from the SwitchON Foundation said.

During the Durga Puja festival, the city effectively managed air quality, but a concerning shift occurred in late autumn. All seven Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) stations consistently reported alarming air quality deterioration. Real-time data revealed the widespread use of conventional firecrackers, often violating CPCB regulations on types and duration.

“A surge in illegal firecracker usage resulting in the stark contrast between expected and observed outcomes raises worries about future health risks, particularly for children and the elderly. Immediate attention is crucial to address this unforeseen threat to public well-being,” the statement added.  

Vinay Jaju, Managing Director of SwitchON Foundation, said that this year, people of the city got lucky but AQI is not something people can expect to get lucky.

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