Delhi chokes as Ravana burns, pollutants spike post 7 pm

DELHI : Air quality in Delhi deteriorated severely after effigies of Ravana started burning Tuesday evening, data from several monitoring stations of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) showed.

Concentration of pollutants in the air at many stations were within the prescribed standards till around 6 pm Tuesday. However, as the effigies started burning, combined with other pollution contributors, the air quality dipped by 10 pm.

A DPCC official said, “There has been an expected spike in terms of pollutants in the air, which may be because of burning of the effigies.”

At Dwarka Sector 8, the level of particulate matter of 10 micrometres (PM 10) was 96 micrograms per cubic metre air as of 6 pm, just below the prescribed standard of 100 µg/m3. By 10 pm, the PM 10 level was nearly 10 times the accepted limits at 950 µg/m3.

The presence of Carbon Monoxide (CO) also increased from 0.9 at 6 pm to 6.4 at 10 pm, higher than the prescribed standard of 4 milligram per cubic metre air.

In South Delhi’s R K Puram, the PM 10 levels were 320 µg/m3 at 10 pm, more than two times the figure recorded earlier in the evening. At India Gate, besides high presence of particulate matter, concentration of nitrogen dioxide was also well above the norms of 80 micrograms per cubic metre air. At 6 pm, the level recorded was 61.3 µg/m3, which increased to 91.9 µg/m3 at 9 pm and dropped to 87.8 µg/m3 an hour later.

Increased exposure to these pollutants can have an impact on health, and studies have linked particulate pollution exposure to various problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung diseases.

A similar trend was noted last year in the capital when the air quality deteriorated after burning of effigies.