‘Zero visibility’. ‘Gas chamber’. ‘Flights diverted’. ‘Schools closed’. ‘Every breath is an effort’.
This past week, we’ve all woken up to front page news with apocalyptic titles on the pollution crisis battling the national capital. Authorities play the blame game & citizens groups voice loud concerns. But one wonders how this has become an annual affair.
Delhi’s pollution levels normally shoot up after Deepavali. Smoke from firecrackers, vehicle and factory exhausts, and the burning of post-harvest stalks of paddy and other plants in neighbouring states  combine to make matters worse. This year was no different.
We thought of checking how Namma Ooru fared this festive season.
News reports suggested that Bengaluru saw only a marginal rise in pollution this Deepavali. A comparison of pollution levels across big cities during Deepavali shows that Bengaluru has fared much better! While most cities had unhealthy, hazardous air quality levels, Bengaluru’s was moderate.
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Comparative air quality levels
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) said that pollution levels were lesser in comparison to the last couple of years. This is reason to celebrate, at least a little. Because as a city, we still have a lot to do to reduce particulate matter & carbon footprint. But the combined efforts of citizens groups, NGOs, government advertising and public consciousness has borne fruit this year.
Cracker sales across Karnataka were poor this Deepavali, owing to many factors, including aggressive TV and radio campaigns by the government promoting a safe & cracker-less Deepavali. The heroes though, are Namma Bengaluru citizens who truly celebrated the festival – puja, lamps, habba oota, new clothes, family & friends – and chose to do away with the pollutants.
Dilli folks & authorities: take a cue from Namma Bengaluru and vow to celebrate smart! 
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