The rural and urban areas of Visakhapatnam witnessed lesser levels of air and noise pollution this Diwali as compared to those recorded in 2019. The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) monitored the air quality and ambient noise levels on 9 November (pre-Diwali) and 14 November (Diwali day) in the district to measure the change. While the ambient noise level was monitored at 6 locations, ambient air quality was monitored at 9 locations.
The APPCB conducted air quality monitoring for the parameters of PM10, PM5, SO2, NO2 at Mindi, Autonagar, Police Barracks, AKC Colony, Seethammadhara, Gnanapuram, Pedagantayada, Ramky, and MVP Rythu Bazar. As per the results obtained, the percentage increase of PM10 from the pre-Diwali day to the Diwali day ranged from 5.30% to 24.54%. The percentage increase of PM5 from the pre-Diwali day to the Diwali day ranged from 1.72% to 25%, which is less than the previous year.
It may be noted that in 2019, the percentage increase of PM10 from pre-Diwali day to the Diwali day ranged from 16.13% to 73.68%, and the percentage increase of PM5 from the pre-Diwali day to the Diwali day is ranged from 52.31% to 84.40%. The authorities said that the change in the pollution levels recorded this year is due to the use of green crackers and curbs on timings for bursting crackers.
The levels of SO2 and NO2 also increased on Diwali as compared to the levels recorded on the pre-Diwali day. However, the authorities said that values observed both these days were well within the standards.
Apart from monitoring the pollution levels in Visakhapatnam, the APPCB conducted Noise level monitoring at 6 locations: St Anthony School (Silence Zone), Pandurangapuram (Residential Zone), King George Hospital (Silence Zone), Kurpam Market (Commercial Zone), Jagadamba Junction (Commercial Zone), RTC Complex (Commercial Zone). As per the noise level data, the values were recorded in the range from 59.3 dB(A) (King George Hospital, (Silence Zone)) to 88.7 dB(A) (Kurpam Market (Commercial Zone)).
Ahead of Diwali, the Andhra Pradesh government had announced that only green crackers would be allowed in the state. Based on a report by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the state government further restricted the timings to burst crackers from 8 PM to 10 PM.