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Sans crackers, Kolkata's air quality improves

Sans crackers, Kolkatas air quality improves
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Kolkata: Amid restrained celebrations, the air quality in Kolkata showed significant improvement during Kali Puja and Diwali unlike previous years, when emission of smoke from crackers used to be a major concern for environmentalists and enforcement agencies during the festival.

Except for the reading at Rabindra Bharati air quality monitoring station in North Kolkata, all major automated stations of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) recorded moderate air quality (PM 10) from 6 pm on Saturday to 6 am the next morning. Even on Sunday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) hovered around the moderate mark.

"The reading at Rabindra Bharati is always on the higher side with increased volume of traffic along BT road, particularly after the dismantling of the Talla Bridge," said a senior official of WBPCB.

The reading at RBU was over 250 throughout while all other stations like Ballygunge, Fort William, Jadavpur, Rabindra Sarobar and Bidhannagar recorded moderate levels. The air quality level was the least at Bidhannagar—not even crossing the 150 mark.

For the other places like Ballygunge, Jadavpur, Rabindra Sarobar, Fort William and Victoria Memorial, AQI didn't cross the 175 mark.

Meanwhile, the WBPCB had received 30 odd complaints related to blaring of loudspeakers and bursting of crackers, mainly from the districts. A single complaint each from Beliaghata, Behala, Haridevpur and Parnasree were received. However, they were too trivial for initiation of any stringent action.

Till 6 pm on Sunday, three complaints related to loudspeakers were received from Ghola in North 24 Parganas and Bantra and Shibpur in Howrah.

In 2019, PM 10 had shot up to 1000 on the night of Kali Puja and Diwali while PM 2.5 hovered around 700 mark.

An AQI (PM 10) between 101 and 200 is considered moderate, 201-300 'poor', 301- 400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe', while the AQI above 500 falls in the severe plus category.

The Calcutta High Court as well as the National Green Tribunal has banned use or sale of any sort of firecrackers in November. The Supreme Court has also upheld the judgement of Calcutta High Court considering the fact that air pollution which was caused due to bursting of firecrackers may further aggravate the pandemic situation.

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