While it is certainly good news that air pollution levels dipped across Tamilnadu on Deepavali, a day after the festival was celebrated in the State for the first time after the Supreme Court order on the two-hour window came into force, it was saddening to read that the police had filed over 1,000 cases against those who burst firecrackers in violation of the time-frame. Also, many were taken to police stations on charges of violating the rule. Though the police personnel had only done their duty, they could have gone a little soft on the issue.
The police crackdown, already, has drawn flak from Opposition parties, which termed the action ‘ridiculous’ and demanded withdrawal of all cases. Meanwhile, coming back to the ‘good news’, Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board officials said data showed a drop in pollution levels across the State, including Chennai, on Tuesday.
Citing data being collated from several parts of the State, officials said there was a definite drop in air and noise pollution on the day (compared to previous years) and surveys showed that the parameters conformed to set standards in most regions. In Chennai, the Ambient Air Quality survey showed that pollution this year was much lesser and even almost conformed to prescribed limits of 100/micrograms as regards PM-10 (particulate matter-10). PM-10 ranged from 48 to 114 micrograms on Deepavali day, compared to between 387 to 777 micrograms the previous year. So, the Supreme Court order has done good to the environment. From next year, the focus should be on increasing the usage of green crackers, rather than imposing strict time limits.