Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, ahead of Diwali festival, has come alive claiming that it would be conducting an assessment drive.
The HP PCB said that to access the impact of the bursting of firecrackers during the forthcoming Diwali festival, it will conduct a special monitoring drive to assess ambient air pollution and noise pollution in the state.
Necessary directions have been issued to all the regional officers and laboratory In-Charges of the State Board to conduct extensive ambient air quality monitoring derive with effect from October 20 to November 3, 2019, the PCB said.
Ambient noise monitoring will also be conducted during pre- Diwali October on 21 and on the day of Diwali (October 27).
During this monitoring drive, apart from general parameters like particular Matters (PM10, PM 2.5), oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen, Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia some additional parameters like Lead, Nickel, arsenic, Barium, Iron and Strontium will also be monitored, the PCB said.
The Board had carried out a similar monitoring drive on Diwali in 2018 as well. Monitoring was carried out with respect to Respirable Particulate Matter (RSPM) Concentration, SO2 and NOx in Shimla, Dharamshala, Paonta sahib, Una, Sundarnagar, Nalagarh, Baddi, Damtal, Parwanoo, and Manali.
Baddi had turned out to be the most polluted in terms of ambient air quality, while Damtal was the cleanest. The Board had assessed the concentrations of SO2 and NOx within the limit at every station but had reported a rise in RSPM concentration above the standard level.
In capital Shimla, the concentration of RSPM was assessed to be lower in 2018 as compared to 2017, while it was higher for other stations.
However, no monitoring of noise pollution was carried out.
Further, the Board has also urged the department of education to educate children about the harmful effects of air and noise pollution caused due to bursting of firecrackers and also to encourage them to celebrate pollution-free Diwali.
The board has also urged the people of the State to celebrate this festival of light in an eco-friendly way and say no to firecrackers.
PCB said that all the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendent of Police have been directed to ensure that no firework of firecrackers should be allowed to burst in the 100 meters vicinity of the silence zone such as hospitals, educational institutions, courts etc. as per the provision of law.
Sales and use of firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dBA is also prohibited.