Diwali: Delhiites had hazy morning, poor air quality

The worsening of air was due to a combination of adverse weather conditions and bursting of noisy and smoky firecrackers long into the night as hundreds celebrate the Festival of Light.

The quality of air in Delhi and four of its satellite townships nosedived a day after Diwali as a thick blanket of pollution haze enveloped the National Capital Region where hundreds of revellers burst firecrackers till late into the night in contravention of a Supreme Court order.

By 6 PM on Thursday, Delhi's air quality entered the red zone in the category of “severe” with an Air Quality Index of 410 – a drop of nearly 200 points within 24 hours. The index was equally terrible for Noida (450), Gurugram (407), Ghaziabad (440) and Faridabad (469).

In the AQI, maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board, a figure beyond 400 indicates the most foul quality of air categorised as “severe” that can trigger serious health complications.

The worsening of air was due to a combination of adverse weather conditions and bursting of noisy and smoky firecrackers long into the night as hundreds celebrate the Festival of Light.

Last month, the apex court in an order permitted bursting of only green crackers in Delhi-NCR region between 8-10 PM. This was openly flouted as people in the city and suburbs continue to buy firecrackers well past midnight.

“Its clear that a massive illegal trade was happening as the people who burst crackers would have got it only illegally. Wouldn’t the police have known? If they didn’t then that itself calls for an investigation. Was there an intelligence failure? I hope someone raises these points before the Supreme Court,” said a resident of east Delhi’s Vasundhara Enclave.

Because of such polluted air, Delhi administration on Thursday banned entry of trucks in the city till November 11, barring those vehicles carrying essential items.

Delhi Police on Thursday said it received 37 calls on cracker bursting and sale, out of which 23 calls were after 10 PM. In a city of nearly two crore population, Delhi Police issued 188 notices for fine and arrested 14 persons in connection with the illegal sale and bursting of crackers. It also seized 72 kg of crackers.

An air pollution warning system for Delhi found the role the adverse weather and stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana behind the Delhi pollution haze.

“Winds are coming from a westerly direction on November 7 (Diwali day), bringing the influence of biomass burning pollutants in Delhi NCR. This may continue up to November 8. Fire counts in North West region were more on November 6 compared to the situation a day before,” says the warning prepared by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.

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Diwali: Delhiites had hazy morning, poor air quality

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