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Rubina Choudhry1, Haleema Bano2, Gunwant Joshi3 and Ejaz Sultan Lone4*

1Reader, School of Energy and Environmental science Devi Ahilya University Indore, M.P., India.

2Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental Science Sheri-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST) Shalimar Kashmir.

3Chief Chemist, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Paryawaran Parhisar, E-5, Arera colony Bhopal (M.P.) India.

4Research Scholar, School of Energy and Environmental Science Devi Ahilya University Indore, M.P. India.

*Corresponding Authors:
Ejaz Sultan Lone
Research Scholar, School of Energy and Environmental
Science Devi Ahilya University Indore, M.P. India

Received Date: 16 June, 2017 Accepted Date: 23 April, 2018

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Diwali the “festival of lights” is celebrated by bursting a large quantity of fire-crackers. Bursting of fire-crackers deteriorates ambient air quality by releasing suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), consisting of metal oxides along with carbon particles, poisonous/toxic gases in atmosphere. Among the gases released are oxides of nitrogen, oxides of phosphorous, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. This paper tries to investigate the air quality changes during Diwali festival in Bhopal by comparing ambient air quality of Diwali days with the ambient air quality of Diwali days of the same month in which Diwali was celebrated in 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014. Determines the increase of the air pollution (i.e., SPM, RSPM, SO2 & NOX) during Diwali. The effect of bursting of fire-crackers on ambient air quality. Use of AQI (Air Quality Index) to determine the ambient air quality.


Ambient air quality, Diwali, Air quality index, Particulate matter, Fire-crackers, High volume air sampler.


Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali, popularly known as the “festival of lights” is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, celebrated for different reasons, occurring between mid-oct and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one the important festival of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. For Sikhs, Diwali is important because it celebrates the release from prison of sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, who also rescued 52 Hindus kings held captive by Mughal Emperor with him in the Gwalior fort in 1619 (Chauhan, et al., 2010).

The name “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” ( Sanskrit Deepavali), which translates into “row of lamps”. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps ( diyas or dips in Sanskrit) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members, and friends(Barman, et al., 2007). Most Indians Business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali (Dolti, 2010). Deepavali is celebrated in India, Nepal, Sri lanka, Myanmar, Guyana, Mauritius, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji (Joshi, 1998; Bearu of Indian standards, 2003).

Air pollution is the presence in ambient atmosphere of substances, generally resulting from the activity of man, in suffient time and under circumstances which interfere significantly with the conformity, heath or welfare of persons or with the full use or enjoyment of property (BIS, 2003).


The criteria parameter indicating air quality are the two chief groups of air pollutants namely Total suspended particulate matter (TSPM) o suspended particulate matter (SPM) and gaseous pollutants. The Total suspended particulate matter (TSPM) include the coarse as well as the respirable particulates or respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM). Health hazards are cause primarily by the respirable particulates in the size range of 0.5 to 10 microns. TSPM originate mainly from work areas like cement and other air polluting industries. Gaseous pollutants include oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, halogens, ammonia, ozone and sulphides (Thakur, et al., 2010).

High volume air sampler

Air is sampled by using high volume air sampler. The sampler is suitable for monitoring air quality within work space environment as well as in ambient air outside. Particulates are measured by passing air at a high flow rate of 0.9 to 1.4 cubic meter per minute through a high efficiency filter media which retains the particles. The normal AC electrical blower of hand tools of Rally Wolf make has a free flow of 1.4 to 1.8 cubic meter per minute and is generally used to draw the required suction pressure. Once the volume of air sampled is known oven a period of time, the amount of particulates collected is determined gravimetrically by measuring the increase in the weight of filter paper due to sampling. Gaseous pollutants are absorbed in suitable absorbing reagent and analyzed spectrophotometerically (woodruff, et al., 1997).

Determination of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere (Jacob and Hochheisers method)

Ten ml of sampled absorbing medium are taken in a 50 ml volumetric flask. One ml of H2O2 solution, 10 ml sulfanilamide solution and 1.4 ml NEDA solution are added in the volumetric flask. For control absorbing medium along with these chemicals are used. Volumetric flask are shaken and allowed to stand for 20 minutes for the development of color. Transmittance is taken at 540 mm (Bates, et al., 1995).

Determination of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere (weast and Geake method)

Ten ml of sampled absorbent sodium tetrachloromercurate solution is taken in a volumetric flask and then 1 ml of sulphamic acid, 2 ml of formaldehyde solution and 5 ml roaniline is added one by one. The solution is shaken gently. After 30 minutes the transmittance is determined at 550 mm in spectrophotometer. In the control (blank) in place of sampled absorbing medium is taken. The SO2 is determined by including transmittance (%) value in the calibrated standard curve (Gordian, et al., 1996; Scantra, 2001; Zaiidudin and Siddiqui, 2006; Singh, 2009;

Air Quality Index (AQI)

The air quality index (AQI) is a measure of the ratio of the pollutant concentration to the status of ambient air in places. Indices of air pollution or air quality have been used for about 25 years. The following computation is used to derive the air quality index of the sites, which are under consideration.


Where sRSPM, sSPM, SO2 and sNox represent the ambient air quality standards as prescribed by the CPCB, for respirable suspended particulates, suspended particulates, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides respectively. Whereas the RSPM, SPM, SO2 and Nox represent the actual values of pollutants obtained on sampling.

AQI Scale

The AQI scale was divided into five categories, each category describes the range of air quality and its associated potential health effects. The five levels of AQI sale are depicted under (Zaiiudin & Siddiqui, 2006) (Table 1).

Pollutants Monitored

In this study following pollutnts were monitored

1. Suspended particulate matter (SPM)

2. Respirable suspended particulate matter(RSPM/ PM10)

3. Oxides of nitrogen (NO2)

4. Oxides of sulphur (SO2)

 Results and Discussion

The study was conducted during Diwali and non- Diwali days of the same month in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and a comparison of pollution level was done with the help of air quality index. In each year three sites where taken involving residential, commercial and industrial areas. The results were as in Tables 2 and 3 (Figures.1 and 2).


Figure 1: Ambient air quality changes during Diwali days.


Figure 2: Average of monthly observed ambient air quality during non-Diwali days.

            AQI value            Description
  0-25               Clean air
 26-50        Light air pollution
 51-75   Moderate air pollution
76-100       Heavy air pollution
>100        Sever air pollution

Table 1. AQI scale

                                          Year Area Type SPM RSPM SOX NOX AQI
2011 Residential 489.9 168 12 56 65
Industrial 644 171 14 68 66
Commercial 400 135 17 101 73
2012                            Residential 472.3 177.5 9.4 43.3 85
Industrial 285.3 187.2 5.8 18.4 66
Commercial 450 387.4 15.2 30.4 167
2013 Residential  503.8 151.3 16.7 21.3 77
Industrial  404.6 229.6 15.6 28.2 68
Commercial  345.6 136.2 23.4 35.3 96
2014 Residential  512.2 156.2 5.9 33.4 75
Industrial  404.6 229.6 15.6 28.2 68
Commercial  456.6 300.9 11.9 28.7 145

Table 2. Changes in ambient air quality during Diwali days.

      Year Area Type SPM         RSPM             SOX            NOX       AQI
      2011 Residential 86.0          41 5.1 10.9        26
Industrial 305          83  10.8 19.1        68
Commercial 228          66 8.5 14.7        30
       2012 Resid Ential 84          38 5.4 11.6        29
Industrial 418.0 228.2 6.6 23.4        72
Commercial 146.6          91.5 5.8 17.8        49
       2013 Residential 87          39 5.5 11.2        28
Industrial 202.3          119 5.5 12.3        58
Commercial 318          212 5.6 16.8        37
       2014 Residential 88          43 5.4             11        28
Industrial 279          149 8.8 19.7        83
Commercial 224.9 146.9 5.1            12.5        40

Table 3. Average of monthly observed ambient air quality during non-diwali days.


It is evident from the study that the ambient air quality in Bhopal city during Diwali festival changes when compared with non-Diwali days. The study sites showed mostly severe or heavy air pollution for all four years during Diwali days. It is evident from this study that the commercial and residential areas show heavy or severe air pollution during Diwali days whereas during non-Diwali pollution level is low. The industrial area shows low level of air pollution during Diwali days as compared to non- Diwali days.

Suggestive Measures

1. Public awareness.

2. Enforcement of special laws regarding the bursting of fire crackers.

3. Use of fire crackers should be decreased during Diwali festival as well as other days.

4. People should be motivated to burst fire crackers in groups.


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