Post-Diwali, Varanasi air quality hits dangerous levels

Varanasi, Nov 2 (IANS) Air pollution in Varanasi reached dangerous levels during the festival of Diwali, a report said on Wednesday.

A research on Varanasi’s post-Diwali air quality was conducted by the Care4Air Campaign on October 31, based on air quality data collected from 13 major locations in the city.

The research found that the air quality was way below the Indian government standards, not to speak of WHO standards, an official said.

According to the research report, PM 2.5 particles rose much above even the alarming levels, and in certain parts of the city like Sonarpura, Machhodari, Lanka, Godauliya and Sarnath, the levels were 15 to 20 times above the norms set by the government of India.

A press conference was organised by the Whistle Blower Trust here to share the air quality data from all the 13 locations of the city.

The central government has set a standard of 60 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm), but in Sonarpura area the PM 2.5 reached as high as 999 mpcm.

Machhodari came next where PM 2.5 concentration was 632.8 mpcm and PM 10 815.8 mpcm. Sarnath and Lanka were close in terms of pollution, where PM 2.5 was found to be at 463 mpcm and 432.6 mpcm, respectively.

While Sonarpura remained the most polluted area in terms of PM 2.5, which is also termed as carcinogenic, Godauliya left all locations behind in terms of PM 10.

Talking to the press, Senior Pulmonologist and Director of Allergy Clinic, Dr. R.N. Vajpeyee said that such levels are disastrous for the health of both children and old alike.