Delhi air quality ‘severe’ as residents defy ban on firecrackers on Diwali

The Air Quality Index (AQI) at Delhi’s ITO area and Anand Vihar were recorded as 461 and 478, respectively, according to Delhi Pollution Control Committee data.

Air pollution in Delhi. File photo

People in Delhi defied the ban on firecrackers on Diwali on Saturday (November 14), resulting in the deterioration of the  national capital’s air quality to the “severe category” on Sunday (November 15).

The Air Quality Index (AQI) at Delhi’s ITO area and Anand Vihar were recorded as 461 and 478, respectively, according to Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned sale and bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 9 to November 30. However, people defied the ban and burst crackers on Saturday. It had said “celebration by crackers is for happiness and not to celebrate deaths and diseases”.

Related News: NGT bans firecrackers

Almost all the areas in Delhi logged PM2.5 levels above 400 with many regions nearing the alarming 500-mark. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for PM 2.5 pollutant crossed 800 in most parts of the capital on Diwali night, NDTV reported on Sunday.

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said, “The overall air quality of Delhi is in the ‘severe’ category as of today (November 15) morning as predicted even under 0% local load scenario.”

It added, “However, the magnitude of PM2.5 within the severe category is found to be more than predicted tending to suggest that significant local additional emissions (probably firecracker related) during yesterday night on already build up stubble fire-related pollutant concentrations lead to such scenario where HOURLY average concentrations touched more than 1000ug/m3 at midnight yesterday.”

Delhi’s air could improve on Monday, according to SAFAR. “The AQI is likely to start improving from the afternoon and make AQI in the lower end of VERY POOR on 16th November, may touch the poor category in case of enough rains and washout. AQI is forecasted to stay in the middle-end of the Very Poor category on 17th and 18th November. However, only drizzling may trigger secondary particulate formation to only slightly improve the current level to balance the recovery, but it has very less probability.”

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