By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 29: Laws prohibit Diwali revelers from doing anything that adds to air and sound pollution. Various government agencies and NGOs also appeal to the people not to do anything while celebrating Diwali that causes air and sound pollution. Do such prohibitory orders have any takers?
In this Diwali, earthen lamps, both local and outside ones, and crackers have glutted the market. Even street vendors are seen to do a brisk business. Despite the much-talked about ban, Chinese goods are also sold by some traders in the city.
The alarming among such developments are the findings of the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) during its pre-Diwali and post-Diwali test of air quality conducted last year. The Pollution Control Board conducted its tests last year in city areas like Santipur, Bamunimaidam, Gopith gar and Khapara before the Diwali. The findings of the test were alarming.
The presence of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in air in these areas was found to be 6 to 8.30 micro gm per cubic metre. However, the test conducted soon after the Diwali showed an increase of 12.20 micro gm per cubic metre to 14.90 micro gm per cubic metre in the presence of SO2 in air in these areas. Likewise, the presence of Nitrogen Oxide (NO) before the Diwali in these areas was 11.70 micro gm per cubic metre to 13.10 micro gm per cubic metre. However, it increased to 18.10 micro gm per cubic metre to 21.20 micro gm per cubic metre after the Diwali. The presence of dust particles (PM10) also increased after the Diwali.
These tests made it crystal clear that in the me of celebrating Diwali, the quality of air in Guwahati and elsewhere in the State is being degraded. Such revelations have also made it clear that the appeal from various government agencies and NGOs has not done much to the mass who forgets everything in the me of celebrations. Increase in the presence of SO2, NO and PM10 in air may lead to various breathing-related diseases.
On the other hand, the intensity of sound should be within the safe limit of 55 decibel from 6 am to 10 pm and 45 decibel from 10 pm to 6 am. However, during the Diwali the insensity of sound reached up to 82.3 decibel. Crackers are being burst throughout the night. According to the Environment Conservation Act, 1986, bursting of crackers producing 125 decibel is prohibited.
This year the Kamrup (M) district administration has prohibited bursting of crackers after 10 pm. It is a matter to be watched if the prohibitory order is obeyed by the Diwali revelers.
The PCBA conducted a test in September this year to ascertain air quality of Guwahati. If such a test is conducted by the PCBA soon after the Diwali, the level of air and sound pollution in the city can be ascertained.