Poor quality air forecast for Pune during Diwali, might worsen if it drizzles: SAFAR

The forecast is based on two model scenarios — Additional Firecracker emissions: Nil (0 per cent) and Additional Firecracker emissions: 50 per cent of 2019 emissions.

The quality of air in Pune is expected to remain poor during the Diwali period, according to a forecast by the System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). There is a likelihood of rain during the period, and, according to SAFAR experts, if it drizzles, it may further deteriorate the air quality.

“However, if there is sufficient rain, it will wash away pollutants and the AQI (air quality index) will be better,” Dr Gufran Beig, founder project-director at SAFAR, told The Indian Express.

Being said that in the context of a 50 per cent additional firecracker scenario and with the winter setting in, the forecast for the air quality is “poor” on November 4 and “very poor” on November 5. “It will be back to moderate on the afternoon of November 6,” Dr Beig said.

Due to the low temperatures (minimum temperature around 18-19˚C) in the region, the mixing layer height is also likely to be low, SAFAR scientists said. Winds — majorly easterly in direction – are expected to be calm, leading to accumulation of pollutants and a resultant faster deterioration in air quality, they added.

The forecast for the Diwali-2021 period for Pune is based on the indigenously developed SAFAR-Air Quality Forecasting Framework. The forecast is based on two model scenarios — Additional Firecracker emissions: Nil (0 per cent) and Additional Firecracker emissions: 50 per cent of 2019 emissions.

Accordingly, the forecast of particulate matter 2.5 (PM-2.5) in the event of additional firecracker emission indicates very poor quality of air on November 5. The PM2.5 level is indicated to be 123 ug/m3 whereas, in the absence of firecrackers, it will be at 77 ug/m3.

According to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, PM 2.5 levels below 60 ug/m3 are satisfactory; air quality is termed as good when the level is below 30 ug/m3. “In a scenario where no firecrackers are burst, the air quality levels will remain in the moderate category during the entire period until November 6,” Beig further said.

The most polluted areas on November 5 are likely to be Shivajinagar and Bhosari. According to the forecast, the “hot spot hours” include the early morning hours of Nov 5, between 1 am and 6 am.

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