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environment matters, a local NGO with help from Eco Laboratories and Consultants Private Limited
a laboratory approved by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India; NABL
and PPCB undertook monitoring of pollution levels on Diwali in Tri-city with a perspective to
highlight health impacts of bursting of crackers. The monitoring was done in Panchkula (Amravati
Enclave); Mohali (Sector-74) and Chandigarh (Sector-34) on 25.10.11; 26.10.11 and 27.10.11
between 6PM to 2AM to highlight the trends.
PM2.5 (Particles less than 2.5 micron) which are capable of reaching deep inside the lungs and
thus can exchange the pollutants with blood were monitored. The standards for PM 2.5 [Max. 60
microgram/cubic meter (µg/m3)] are notified by MoEF in December 2009 only as they have
substantial health impacts. In addition levels of toxic metals Copper (Cu), Lead (Pb), Aluminium (Al)
and Nickel (Ni) in PM 2.5 were also monitored. The following trends were noted in PM 2.5 levels in
tri-city which shows a distinct 3 times increase in PM 2.5 levels during the bursting of
crackers. The short term exposure may still be higher to those who burst the crackers. The only
good thing was that Diwali being in October itself the atmospheric conditions helped in quick
dispersion of pollutants and levels have fallen down in next 24 hours.
The bad thing is that on diwali night PM2.5 was heavily polluted with toxic metals particularly
very high level of aluminum, lead and copper were observed. A survey was also undertaken by
picking fire crackers at random from many stalls and though in majority cracker packets have
chemical constitution given still many packers were without it. Further on many chemicals were
listed without percentage of constituents (See enclosed scan of packet cover). The crackers were
mainly from Rohtak (Haryana) or Sivakasi (Tamilnadu). The crackers are made from aluminum
powder, potassium, phosphorus, sulphur, magnesium, charcoal, iron fillings, barium.
Figure-1: Trends (Average 8-hour) in PM 2.5 levels in Tri-city during Pre-Diwali,
Diwali and Post Diwali between 6 PM to 2 AM
Table-1: Average (8-hour) metal dust/fumes in PM 2.5 in Tri-city during Pre-Diwali, Diwali and Post Diwali between 6 PM to 2 AM
Toxic Metals
Post Diwali
Cu ug/m3
0.05 -
Al ug/m3
10.63 -
Pb ug/m3
0.62 0.5
Ni ug/m3
BDL 0.02
BDL- Below Detectable Limit

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