Air quality dips to 'very poor' in Delhi on Diwali

Women walk in front of India's Presidential Palace on a smoggy morning in New Delhi. (Reuters photo)

A day after Diwali, the air quality of Delhi and surrounding areas dropped to “very poor” category on Monday as only a section of the citizens followed the government's advises on shunning or reducing the use of fire crackers.

The “very poor” category, however is a tad better than 2018 Diwali when the air quality nosedived to “severe” in the morning after the festival of lights.

"Overall, Diwali this year observed less pollution in terms of both gaseous and particulate matter. This may be attributed to cumulative effects of ground level actions and introduction of green crackers in market and favourable meteorological conditions," the Central Pollution Control Board said in a brief report.

The average levels of both PM-2.5 an PM-10 (polluting particles of 2.5 and 10 micron sizes respectively) was down by about 40 micrograms per cubic metre, pointed out CPCB.

On Monday at 7 PM, Delhi's air quality index stands at 359 (very poor). The same is true for each of its five satellite towns as the air quality index at Noida (397), Greater Noida (375), Gurugram (372), Ghaziabad (396) and Faridabad (358) deteriorated.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed air pollution level in Delhi on the Diwali night was the lowest in the last five years as there was relatively lesser bursting of firecrackers.

After last year's Diwali, Delhi's AQI reached as high as 642, which is more than three times the safe limit. The AQI post-Diwali was 367 in 2017 and 425 in 2016.

While Diwali celebrations in some of the colonies in the capital were muted, in large parts of east and west Delhi as well as in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, cracker bursting continued well past the official time slot of 10 pm.

As a consequence, the residents of Delhi and its surrounding areas woke up to hazy sky with a thick blanket of pollution enveloping the zone. Besides fireworks, other contributors to the haze are stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, construction dust and vehicular pollution.

Because of a dip in temperature, the haze continued to hang over the region for most parts of the day triggering breathing trouble among the vulnerable.

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