By Anshul Tewari:
So you had a great Diwali celebration with fire-cracker-bursting sessions with friends, didn’t you? Here’s what – according to a report by The Meteorology Department, Delhi has recorded the highest level of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) pollution post-Diwali this year at 531 mg per cubic metre – more than five times higher than the normal level leaving many at risk of respiratory problems – followed by Kolkata where the suspended particulate matter level was 417 mg per cubic metre and Chennai at 320 mg per cubic metre.
Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter, you ask? RSPM is the microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. The sources for RSPM can be man-made or natural, but with regards to RSPM suspended during Diwali, it is definitely man-made. RSPM can also lead to premature deaths and asthma, which are just a couple of the health issues that backpack themselves along with it.
According to the report, Punjabi Bagh in New Delhi registered the highest level of 194 micrograms per metre cube of nitrogen oxides.
Delhi had registered high levels of carbon and nitrogen monoxides, and coupled with a wind speed of around 0.3 metres/second the city virtually choked with the escalated air pollution level. The Meteorology Department also added that humidity on Friday oscillated between 50 and 90 percent.
So what does all this mean? Earlier this year, Delhi was named the city with the highest pollution in the world by the World Health Organization. While many people try and justify bursting crackers on Diwali by stating that it is only a one day affair and cannot add much to the existing pollution by industries and cars, the fact is that even a day’s worth of pollution can turn deadly for the health of the city and the country. Just because someone else is doing more bad to health and environment, it does not excuse you to add to it, even if in small quantities.
According to health experts, a few health concerns that Diwali brings along include acute asthma attacks; chronic lung diseases; bronchitis in patients who are allergic, causing severe dry, irritating cough increasing in intensity while speaking and at night; apart from eye and nasal irritation and damage to the eardrums.
Firecrackers are something that many of us look forward to during Diwali. But remember, these few seconds of joy not just hurt the environment, but also cause serious health problems. From the gasses they emit to increasing air pollution (by nearly 30 percent), the toxic air during and post-Diwali is not just dangerous for those with respiratory problems and lung diseases, but also for others.
Well, now that the damage has been done, you might want to pacify yourself by thinking that the pollution levels this Diwali have been less than the 2013 Diwali celebrations, however, they have been equally (if not more) damaging.
So while you move on about your life and the next Diwali arrives, remember that a cleaner Diwali is indeed a happier Diwali for everyone.