Experts Warn of Poor Air Quality in Pune During Diwali Due to Cloudy Skies

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Pune, 5th November 2023: This Diwali, Pune may experience increased pollution levels, as per experts from IMD and IITM. The forecast predicts light to very light rain in south Maharashtra leading up to the festival of lights, with the city unlikely to receive any rainfall.


Dr. BS Murthy, project director at IITM-SAFAR, highlighted concerns about deteriorating air quality during Diwali due to high humidity and cloudy skies. He explained that these conditions could lead to a rise in pollution, attributing it to pollutants and particulate matter from firecrackers absorbing moisture in the air and expanding. The increased mass of these particles could result in longer air retention, hindering their dispersal.


Cloudy skies and higher humidity levels are expected around Diwali, causing pollution to linger. Dr. Murthy pointed out that the forecasted low-pressure area over the Eastcentral Arabian Sea around November 8 might contribute to clouding in Pune. Although rain is not predicted for November 11-13, the heightened humidity levels may impact air quality, potentially reaching poor levels a day after Diwali.


Anupam Kashyapi, head of the weather forecasting division at IMD-Pune, noted the already noticeable partly cloudy conditions and haze in Pune. The haze is a result of increased dust from construction activities, such as road repair and Metro work, combined with vehicular pollution.


Firecracker activities during Diwali are expected to exacerbate the pollution.


Kashyapi mentioned that Pune’s horizontal visibility is already poor, not exceeding 2-2.5 km, due to a mixture of dust particles and haze causing air distortion. The city may experience partly cloudy skies before Diwali, with a possibility of very light rain. However, even if rain occurs, it is unlikely to significantly alleviate pollution, especially with the added contribution of firecrackers.