Post Diwali, Delhi air quality drops to season’s worst

According to government agencies the situation was still better than the last three years. Photo: iStock.

A day after Diwali the air quality in the nation’s capital has dropped to the season’s worst, but the situation was still better than the last three years, according to government agencies.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the city’s overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 345 at 10.30 am on Monday (October 28), whereas on Sunday it was 337 at 4 pm.

The government’s air quality monitor, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), had earlier predicted that primarily due to firecracker emissions, unfavourable weather and a significant spike in stubble burning, Delhi’s overall AQI would enter the “severe” category between 1 am and 6 am on Monday.

While the AQI stood at 327 at 11 pm. It dipped to 323 at 3.30 am, just about when it was expected to enter the “severe” category. Sources claim that, ear-deafening explosions, toxic smoke and ash from firecrackers filled the air are the various reasons behind the air quality index crossing the “severe” mark.

On Monday morning, the weather department reported that due to shallow fog, the air quality has increased to 340 at 8:30 am. Thirty-six of the 37 air quality monitoring stations in the capital recorded their AQI in the “very poor” category.

After last year’s Diwali, Delhi’s AQI had crossed the 600-mark, which is 12 times the safe limit. The AQI post-Diwali was 367 in 2017 and 425 in 2016.

According to CPCB data, Delhi’s air quality was, however, better than satellite towns of Ghaziabad (375), Greater Noida (356), Gurgaon (352) and Noida (375).

In another serious note, on Sunday night, people reported violation of the Supreme Court-enforced two-hour window in Malviya Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Kailash Hills, Burari, Jangpura, Shahdara, Laxmi Nagar, Mayur Vihar, Sarita Vihar, Hari Nagar, New Friends Colony, Hauz Khas, Gautam Nagar, Dwarka among others places. Residents in Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad also reported extensive fireworks much beyond the time frame.

It is to be noted that, with the national capital’s air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court in 2018 banned polluting firecrackers and ordered that only green firecrackers, which is said to cause 30 per cent less pollution, can be manufactured and sold. Though the initiative has failed to draw response both from sellers and buyers.

To curb air pollution, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi has announced the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme from November 4 to 15.

(With inputs from agencies)