Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

Delhi records worst air quality of year after Diwali

Delhi records worst air quality of year after Diwali

Violations were also reported in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other major cities.

Mustafa Mohammed, a student and cycling enthusiast, said he could feel the air quality dip drastically as he set out on Thursday to India Gate in the heart of the city. Early morning at 1 am, smoke layer became thick and started to trap pollutants near the surface rapidly.

The Central Pollution Control Board-led task force will decide on Saturday whether the anti-pollution measures in place in Delhi will continue or whether tougher steps need to be taken to counter the deterioration in air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority said on Friday.

Harmful pollutants reached levels more than 20 times the safe limit in the Indian capital. It is poor when between 201 to 300 and very poor between 301 to 400.

The national capital woke up to a yet another smoggy morning on Friday with the air quality in the "severe" category.

Stubble burning in neighbouring states combined with localised factors in Delhi such as vehicular emissions, industrial pollution and smoke from firecrackers around Diwali every year plague the national capital's air quality every year.

In its earlier report SAFAR warned that compared to a year ago, even if half the amount of firecrackers were burst this Diwali, the region's air quality was likely to go to up to "emergency" levels for two days with a spike in PM2.5 levels.

The concentration of PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm and 10mm, remained in "severe-plus" or "severe" levels. Once the PM2.5 level crosses 80 or 100 [micrograms per cubic metre], it has a huge impact on health.

The readings by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research shows that the "very poor" Air Quality Index improved on November 9, when it came down to "poor" category. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to the advisory issued by SAFAR.

Neither is it in the BJP's interests, or in the interest of the main opposition Congress party, to help Kejriwal's New Delhi government.

The report on the widespread burning of firecrackers comes even as the Supreme Court has fixed a two-hour time period, from 8 pm to 10 pm, for bursting of crackers on Diwali and other festivals.

While seven people were detained for allegedly flouting the apex court's guidelines and bursting crackers after the 10 pm deadline, Mirror spotted hordes of residents on Carter Road, Marine Drive and Worli Seaface, who disregarded the order, sending noise and air pollution levels skyrocketing with their pyrotechnics.

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