Toxic air engulfs Delhi as people flout SC order

A cyclist rides through heavy haze, in New Delhi. PTI photo

Delhi and its four satellite towns on Thursday woke up to a layer of thick smog engulfing the metropolis a day after Diwali when revellers burst firecrackers till late into the night in contravention of a Supreme Court order.

At 10 AM, the Central Pollution Control Board’s Air Quality Index recorded Delhi’s air quality index at 350, which makes the quality of the air “very poor”. The category is the same for the satellites like Noida (389), Faridabad (393), Ghaziabad (379) and Gurugram (350).

A day before, the air qualities in all of these locations were in “poor” category with AQI less than 300 in the entire National Capital Region.

The rapid deterioration 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.


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Last month, the apex court in an order permitted bursting of only green crackers in Delhi-NCR region between 8-10 PM.

“It's 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.

An air quality early 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.

Delhi-NCR’s air quality may remain in the very poor category till Thursday after which the situation may change because of the easterly winds. Shallow fog and haze are expected in the daytime on Thursday and Friday, says the IITM forecast.

 

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Toxic air engulfs Delhi as people flout SC order

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