Delhi: Need to keep eye on 2020 firecracker hotspots so that efforts don’t go up in smoke

Delhi: 4 Nov, 2021 (Times of India)

 

NEW DELHI: Seelampur in Shahdara, Raghopur in west Delhi, Himmatpuri in northeast Delhi, Lado Sarai in southwest Delhi and Sarvodaya Enclave, Hauz Khas and Mehrauli in south Delhi were among the top 10 firecracker hotspots on Diwali 2020. Massive amounts of crackers were burst in these places last year despite the ban on fireworks, according to an analysis by Ambee, an environmental intelligence company that measures air quality at street level.

Ambee said the average PM2.5 levels at these 10 locations on Diwali last year, November 14, measured 450-480 micrograms per cubic metre between 6pm and 12 midnight against the safe standard of 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

 

The data of Delhi Pollution Control Committee too indicated high pollution levels in some localities on Diwali last year due to bursting of crackers. DPCC data showed Vivek Vihar, a residential area in east Delhi, as one of the most polluted on Diwali night in 2020. The hourly PM2.5 concentration there was 1,970 micrograms per cubic metre at 1am. The PM2.5 was 1,853 micrograms per cubic metre at 1am Mundka in west Delhi and 1,798 micrograms per cubic metre in the bustling sub-city of Rohini in north Delhi.

“The top 10 most polluted locations recorded around 30% higher PM2.5 concentration between 6pm and 12am than the city average of 280-320 micrograms per cubic metre,” said Madhusudhan Anand, co-founder and chief technology officer at Ambee. “These locations are not the usual polluted hotspots, but saw high PM2.5 concentrations on Diwali day last year.”

Despite the ban on firecrackers this year too, these hotspots could again see fireworks and the administration must create awareness and run a digital campaign to ensure the enforcement of the cracker ban, said Anand.

Gufran Beig, SAFAR’s founder-project director, said, “On November 15 last year, a day after Diwali, Anand Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Mundka, Nehru Nagar and Delhi University were identified as pollution hotspots. They are vulnerable this year too, and the civic agencies should monitor them closely.”

The Central Pollution Control Board said in its Diwali 2020 report that Pitampura saw a spurt in particulate matter and SO2, indicating firecracker pollution load.