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No let-up in noise level during Diwali

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Oct 29 - Environmental and health concerns, appeals by authorities and enforcement drives by the administration did not have much impact on Diwali revellers in Guwahati.

There was no let-up in noise pollution in the city compared to last year. In fact, at places the ambient noise level was more than what was last year during Diwali night.

The Pollution Control Board, Assam measured the noise level at three places in the city � Panbazar (silence zone), Ganeshguri (commercial zone) and Rehabari � on Diwali day.

At Panbazar, the average ambient noise level on Diwali day (October 27) between 6 pm and 10 pm was 78.40 dB(A). Last year, the average on Diwali day during those hours was 78.50 dB(A). Between 7 pm and 8 pm, the noise level was 82.6 dB(A) compared to 76 dB(A) last year. The safe standard for a silence zone like Panbazar, having a number of hospitals, educational and other institutions, is 50 dB(A).

At Ganeshguri, a commercial zone whose safe standard should be 65, the average noise level between 6 pm and 10 pm on Diwali day was 71.50 dB(A), compared to 72.75 dB(A) last year.

In the Ulubari Chariali area, the noise level on Diwali day between 9 pm and 10 pm was as high as 84.7 dB(A). Between 6 pm and 10 pm, the average noise level in the area was 79.32 dB(A), which is around 5 dB(A) higher than last year.

The PCBA is yet to compile the air pollution levels in the city during Diwali as the monitoring will continue till November 3.

Last year, the city had recorded a sharp rise in particulate matter in the air, which scientists had attributed to more use of noiseless crackers like phuljari, kolgos and other sparkles which release harmful gases.

Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) data had revealed that PM10 (coarse particles) level in the city on November 6 and 7 last year was 186 and 299, against the standard of 100. On Diwali day in 2016 and 2017, the level was 125 and 108.

Again, PM2.5 � the tiniest and deadliest particulate matter that affects lungs and enters the blood stream � which was measured for the first time in the city last year, was 240 on November 7, 149 on November 6 and 74 on November 1 last year. The permissible level of PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre while for PM10 it is 100 micrograms per cubic metre.

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