Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

A day after Diwali, Delhi records worst air quality of the year

A day after Diwali, Delhi records worst air quality of the year

Forecasts suggest the air quality across northern cities will remain very poor till Sunday. According to the autonomous meteorological body set up under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, SAFAR, the overall Air Quality Index of Delhi at 8:15 am was recorded at 428, which falls under the "hazardous" category.

Delhi's air quality typically worsens in winter, as clouds of smoke from farmers' fires billow into the city and mix with industrial and traffic emissions to form a noxious cocktail.

A municipal worker with her daughter leaves after sweeping the India Gate area as a thick lawyer of pollution haze hangs a day after Diwali festival, in New Delhi, India, on November 8, 2018. On Friday, the AQI was recorded in the severe category at 426.

Last month, the Supreme Court allowed the use of "green" firecrackers for Diwali, but only for two hours in the evening.

A "very poor" AQI translates into spike in respiratory illnesses and if the air quality dips further, the AQI turns "severe", which troubles healthy individuals and seriously affects those with health issues.

The indices mostly measure the concentration of tiny poisonous particulate matter, or PM 2.5, particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can be carried deep into the lungs.

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"This year, Diwali day shows that the PM10 and PM2.5 values have increased this year compared to 2017".

After the Diwali festival, levels of airborne PM 10 and PM 2.5 touched 470 and 322 respectively, up from 438 and 180 in 2018, the Central Pollution Control Board said in a bulletin. This, they said was much higher than previous years. Preliminary data revealed that pollution levels had increased noticeably by Thursday night.

Several areas in Delhi including Anand Vihar, ITO and Jahangirpuri have recorded the highest level of pollutants in the air and the Delhi government is planning to mull the odd-even rule back in the national capital.

Many others said the ceaseless bursting of firecrackers on Diwali night in violation of the court directive has highlighted the difficulties faced by government agencies in enforcing orders when laws are routinely flouted and accentuated the "large gap" between the law and the capacity to enforce it.

The areas where the violations were recorded included Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens' Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka and Noida Sector 78.

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