Recently, Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the overall pollution level post Diwali has been lowest in the last five year. A comparative analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi based environmental think-tank concurred with him.
What’s more, the CSE said that the weather after September this year remained “relatively favourable” resulting in low levels of pollution in the weeks leading up to Diwali as this was a warmer and windier Diwali than 2018 which led to a sharp fall in peak pollution after 3 am.
In 2018, peak pollution had continued till 8 am the day after Diwali.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE said, “While harsher winter conditions are yet to set in and the weather during the period of analysis (September 15 to October 27) remained relatively favourable (including a delayed monsoon), several ongoing systemic actions and preventive emergency measures had also contributed to prevention of early onset of very poor and severe pollution in Delhi-NCR. The scenario has changed on Diwali night.”
The CSE, through its comparative analysis, pointed out that the peak Diwali pollution was similar to that of last year, but it dissipated faster.
This year, there were no severe pollution days during the week preceding Diwali. In 2018, the region had already experienced a couple of days of severe pollution, with many more days in the ‘very poor’ category. This year, only Ghaziabad experienced the season’s first 24-hour average severe pollution on Diwali day.
However, there is an early indication that air quality in the post Diwali days could deteriorate to ‘severe’ category, the CSE said in its release.
Acknowledging the role of authorities, the CSE found that the favourable weather and action together have tamed 2019 winter pollution but further actions were required to be taken, they said.
Roychowdhury said, “It is absolutely necessary that action is now stepped up to ensure that Delhi and NCR do not plunge into a prolonged smog episode this winter.”
She went on to suggest that emergency action on industrial pollution, waste burning and dust generators with strong deterrence and zero tolerance across Delhi and NCR should be enforced and simultaneously, longer term systemic action to eliminate dirty industrial fuels, up-scale public transport, and minimise waste burning and dust generation for sustained air quality impact should be stepped in.