Ahead of Diwali, Pune breathes ‘satisfactory’ air: Safar

A week before Diwali with the winter almost set in, the air quality index (AQI) for Pune was reported as “satisfactory” as the Indian Institute Of Tropical Meteorology’s (IITM) System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) forecasts that the city’s air will slip to moderate.

The city on Saturday recorded 13.3 degrees Celsius as the minimum temperature with the average air quality index level-pollutant measuring indicator for Pune at 11am was 95 μg/m3 (concentration of air pollutant [eg. ozone] in micrograms [one-millionth of a gram] per cubic metre air).

It soared a bit and reached 98μg/m3 by 5pm, remaining under the ‘satisfactory’ level.

The AQI, which is classified into six categories, including good + satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, and severe, transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value).

The real-time pollution data by Safar showed the average PM10 (atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) in Pune was 95 μg/m3 and PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) – 60 μg/m3.

Within city, Shivajinagar, Lohegaon and Hadapsar reported deterioration of air quality with PM10 being 156 μg/m3, 121 μg/m3 respectively at 5pm, according to Safar.

According to Safar, AQI in the 0-50 range is considered “good”; 51-100 is “satisfactory”; 101-200 is “moderate”; 201-300 is “poor”; 301-400 is “very poor”; anything above 400 is “severe”.

Dr Gufran Beig, project director, Safar, “Due to sudden temperature drop, the air quality deteriorates as polluted particles are trapped.”

He said that the forecast for the city for next three days is that the air quality will witness a drop from “satisfactory” to “moderate”, with the AQI PM10 at 115 μg/m3 and PM 2.5 at 72 μg/m3.

“The ambient air quality monitored in the city is satisfactory and is due to the effect of the cold wave which is leading to increasing of pollutants in the city. But as compared to Delhi, Pune is still better,” said Pratap Jagtap, regional officer, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) that monitors the air quality.

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