On 18th October 2017, CEED issued a health advisory for the citizens of Patna on the eve of Diwali and also urged them to celebrate a cracker-less Diwali. The advisory was issued owing to the current AQI levels, which was marked as ‘very poor’, and also in reference to last year’s air quality data, released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Post last year’s Diwali, Patna’s air quality exhibited pollution level that was 6.7 times higher than the national standard. Reportedly, the PM2.5 concentration on the day of Diwali and the day after that, i.e on October 30th and 31st, 2016, was recorded to be 402.94µg/m³ and 400.8µg/m³, respectively.
Commenting on the Supreme Court’s recent ban on the sale of crackers in Delhi and NCR region until November 1, 2017, Ankita Jyoti, Senior Programme Officer at CEED said, “Following the footsteps of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, various state governments have come forward and taken steps to put a check on the rising levels of pollution during Diwali. While the Chattisgarh Government has banned the sale of high decibel firecrackers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court have issued orders to burn crackers only for three hours, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.” She further added, “Concerned at the deteriorating air quality, the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) has advised the district administration to restrict bursting of crackers on the occasion of Diwali between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. BSPCB has also asked the local administrations to regulate cracker burning in sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, silence zones and parks.”
Some of the precautionary measures suggested by CEED to prevent oneself from getting affected by the polluted air are as follows:
- Keep a tab on the air quality of the city through an app called SAMEER or checking pollution levels online.
- Adults and children with problems related to lungs and heart should avoid strenuous physical activity after Diwali. Older people and pregnant women should also reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors.
- Avoid any strenuous physical activity (walk, cycle or run) or playing outdoors, post Diwali. There are chances of high pollution levels post Diwali, usually in the morning
- Keeping activity levels low during this period, since bad air normally dissipates till 2-3 days after Diwali.
- Any health complications like sudden breathlessness and tightening of the chest should not be ignored.