Cyclone 'Bulbul' helps better Kolkata air quality: Official

Cyclone 'Bulbul' helps better Kolkata air quality: Official Kolkata, Nov 10 (PTI) Cyclone 'Bulbul', which wreakedhavoc in the coastal districts of West Bengal and disruptednormal life in the city, managed to significantly improve theair quality in the metropolis, a senior official said onSunday.

Heavy rain and gusty winds accompanying the tempestcleared fine particulate matters from the city's air,improving its Air Quality Index (AQI), an official of the WestBengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) said.

The city's air quality became 'good' and'satisfactory' after the storm, which was 'poor' two daysback, according to the WBPCB readings.

While the AQI (PM 2.5) at Ballygunge air monitoringstation read 46 at 4 pm on Sunday, that at Fort William was 40during the same period, a WBPCB official said.

He said the AQI (PM 2.5) at Victoria Memorial airmonitoring station read 46 while the corresponding readings atJadavpur and Rabindra Bharati University stations were 19 and54 during the same period.

AQI (PM 2.5) from 0-40 is termed as 'good', while AQI50-100 is considered 'satisfactory' in the environmentalparlance, the official said.

'Good' air quality means there is minimal impact ofpollution while 'satisfactory' air can cause minor discomfortto people having breathing problems, the official said.

AQI in the air monitoring stations of the city hoveredaround 200 to 300 (poor) on Thursday and Friday, he said.

The city's AQI crossed the 301 mark (very poor) onWednesday, surpassing even that of Delhi's 275, he said.

Environmentalist S M Ghosh said while the air qualityof the city improved by 90 per cent after the rain, thephenomenon of showers clearing air pollution is temporary.

'As the rain subsides, polluting particles from dieselvehicles, coal-based oven and dust from construction siteswill invade the air again,' he said.

The WBPCB official said several measures have beentaken to contain air pollution, such as sprinkling water atconstruction sites, preventing plying of vehicles that aremore than 15 years old and banning coal-based ovens atroadside food stalls. PTI SUSACD ACD