Thursday, October 30, 2008

Despite low cracker sales, pollution hits record high

Despite low cracker sales, pollution hits record high
By Subhash Chandra N S,DH News Service,Bangalore:
The financial slowdown might have reduced conspicuous consumption and dulled cracker sales across town. But now, there is a little twist in the Deepavali tale.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has now ruled that this year’s festival was the most polluting so far. Reason: the Respiratory Suspended Particulate Material (RSPM) has been recorded at a high 138 mc/m3 (microns per meter cube).

The cracker dealers have been complaining of poor sales, although environmentalists are dead against the use of crackers to curtail global warming.

But the KSPCB monitoring of this year’s Deepavali has revealed that the noise pollution and the air pollution caused this year is high compared to the previous years.

The Board monitored air and noise levels before and during the festival in five residential areas of Jayanagar, Vijayanagar, AECS Layout, Indiranagar and Cubbonpet areas to record the noise level as well as the suspended particulatory materials due to the burning of crackers.

“It is a matter of concern that the RSPM which measured up to 71mc/ m3 last year has now increased to 138mc/m3,” informed Sharathchandra, chairman, KSPCB.

The round-the-clock online monitoring instruments at the City Railway Station as well as at Rajajinagar to measure the City’s air quality level put the figure at 159mc/m3. The normal is 73mc/m3.

Though the ambient air quality national standard should not exceed 100 mc/m3, (between 10-50 mc/m3 in residential and 150 mc/m3 in the industrial limits) the standards have been left behind even in the residential areas during the festival of lights.

Deafening sound

Even the noise pollution has reached a new high at 73 decibels during this time as against the 55-56 decibels measured during Deepavali last year.

The noise level measured in Jayanagar was 73 decibels as against the normal 67, while it was 81, 88 and 72 at Vijayanagar, Indiranagar and Cubbonpet respectively against the normal day levels of 70, 60 and 66 respectively.

An environment officer who has been measuring the noise and air pollution for several years, said that the RSPM level had never been so high ever since the monitoring of it began in 2002. Crackers dealers speak: On condition of anonymity, a cracker dealer said that it was not the increasing use, but the type of crackers which had been responsible for the rising pollution.

“The traditional crackers have been replaced by the improved bigger crackers which make loud noise, even some chain crackers which lost longer has been the most sought after by the people,” he said.
He said that even the rockets and ornamental crackers considered as safe for children were filled with more toxic material. While this increased efficiency of the crackers, they polluted much more than the traditional crackers


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