Diwali-induced air pollution leaves many gasping for breath

A year later, nothing has changed.

Just as it was a year ago, Diwali is taking its toll on everyone from an air pollution standpoint. The main cities outlined in this article as the ones faring the worst are Ghatkopar, Andheri, and Chembur, all suburbs of Bombay (Mumbai). “Crackers in Diwali have exacerbated chest conditions for many. I am seeing a 20-30% rise in patients approaching the clinic with complaints of wheezing and chest-tightedness. These are classic symptoms of asthma and allergic bronchitis. Cold nights and dry air lead to particulate matter settling low, increasing the level of pollution in the air,” said Dr Tejal Shah, chest physician in Ghatkopar.

Studies in these cities, mainly in the suburbs, show that air pollution levels are up to 16 times worse than normal. Air quality monitoring stations in Bandra and Sion have recorded an average of respirable suspended particulate matter at 150 ug/m3 in the first two weeks of November. This is starkly above the permissible limit of 100 ug/m3. Moreover, latest level of pollutants like nitrous oxide, on November 12, had shot up to 204 ug/m3, while the permissible limit is up to 80 ug/m3.


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