Kolkata sees rise in pollution levels after New Year celebrations

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Kolkata, Jan 1 (PTI) Air quality turned 'poor to very poor' in parts of Kolkata on Friday, hours after people rang in the New Year by bursting firecrackers, and private vehicles crowded city roads, significantly raising particulate matter levels in the atmosphere.

At Rabindra Bharati University in north Kolkata, the air quality index (PM 2.5) around 2 pm touched the 'very poor' category at 329, an official of West Bengal Pollution Control Board said.

He, however, explained that particulate matter usually hangs heavy in the air around this time of the year, especially during early morning and evening hours.

'Bursting of firecrackers alone wouldn't have deteriorated the air quality to this extent. Factors such as vehicular pollution and burning of fossil fuel played a significant role,' the official said.

At Ballygunge, the air quality index remained in the 'poor' category at 292.

Similarly, at Jadavpur it was 270, and Victoria 260.

Environmentalist S M Ghosh said rampant bursting of firecrackers was witnessed in different parts of city since December 31 night.

'It was clear that the crackers kept aside during Diwali and Kalipuja were used during New Year celebrations.

Neither the police nor the pollution control board could prevent that. The situation was compounded by emissions from diesel-run cars,' the activist said. PTI SUS RMS RMS