Hyderabad: Following the rampant cracker bursting on Diwali, the air quality deteriorated in many parts of India, including Hyderabad city. The air quality in the city was the poorest compared to the last two years.
According to the data from Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), on November 4, the superfine particulate matter PM 2.5 level rose to 81 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air), a high for two years.
In 2019 the PM 2.5 level was 72 ug/m3 and in 2020 the PM 2.5 was 64 ug/m3. In 2020, as the COVID-19 restriction was in place, the shadow of pandemic loomed large over the Diwali festival, people couldn’t celebrate much. But with the relaxation of COVID-19 norms and a rise in vaccination rates, this year the festival was celebrated as per normal.
According to national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), the annual average value of PM 2.5 should be 40 ug/m3 and should not exceed 60 ug/m3 for two consecutive days.
A senior scientist Dr Babu Rao Kalapala was quoted by The Times of India as saying, “Unlike PM10, exposure to microscopic PM 2.5 is dangerous as it can affect lungs. A PM 2.5 value of more than 80 ug/m3 is unquestionably high, and people with allergies and asthma should be cautious and wear masks while going out for the next three days because the matter remains in the atmosphere.”
This year Diwali the PM 10 level was at 118 ug/m3, which is lower when compared to the previous years. In 2020, the PM 10 level was 128 ug/m3, and in 2019 it was 163.4 ug/m3. The NAAQS guidelines the normal range for PM 10 should not be more than 100 ug/m3 for two consecutive days and the average annual value should not be more than 60 ug/m3.