Kolkata, Nov 13: Indiscriminate bursting of firecrackers during Kali Puja has pushed the Air Quality Index (AQI) to "alarmingly hazardous levels" at various pockets in the city.
According to police, all firecracker burning norms were flouted on the occasion of Kali Puja on Sunday night leading to an alarming situation. In quite a few places like Jadavpur, the PM 2.5 levels in the air crossed 400, says reports.
The AQI is considered to be "extremely poor" when the level is 300. The worst AQI was reported from Ballygunge in South Kolkata where the PM 2.5 started worsening from 150 at 8 p.m. and reached the worst level of 438 at 11 p.m.
Next was Jadavpur, also in South Kolkata, which started from 170 at 8 p.m. and reached the worst level of 434 at 11 p.m.
Despite being in the "extremely poor" category, the situation seemed to be slightly better at Rabindra Bharati University area in the northern outskirts of Kolkata and Victoria Memorial area in central Kolkata, which is considered as the city's lungs due to the presence of the green-belt of Maidan.
In Rabindra Bharati University, the PM 2.5 started worsening from 80 at 8 p.m. and reached the worst level of 361 at 11 p.m, while at the Victoria memorial, the deterioration also started from 197 at 8 p.m. and rose to 351 at 11 p.m.
Environmental activists and green-technologists feel that the two-hour period when people are allowed to burn firecrackers starts from 8 p.m. But in most cases, they claimed that the process started much before and continued much later.
According to Police, as many 444 arrests were made within the city limits, of which 273 were for burning illegal firecrackers. "A total of 414 kilograms of banned firecrackers were seized throughout the day till 12 midnight on Sunday," a city police officer said.