Thick haze, ‘very poor’ air quality in Delhi-NCR after Diwali celebrations

Real time pollution data appeared alarming. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee's (DPCC) RK Puram monitoring station recorded PM2.5 and PM10 at 878 and 1,179 micrograms per cubic metre at around 11 pm.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: October 20, 2017 9:55 am
Diwali, diwali Delhi, diwali delhi ncr, diwali NCR, delhi pollution, delhi diwali pollution, delhi air quality, firecrackers sale ban, supreme court, delhi news, indian express news Residential buildings decorated with lights. A firecracker lights up, during Diwali in New Delhi. (AP Photo)

A quiet and promising evening gave way to thick haze and noise as Delhi celebrated Diwali on Thursday night, dashing the hopes of cracker-free festivities, following a Supreme Court ban on the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR). The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city glowed red, indicating a ‘very poor’ air quality as the volume of ultra fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 7 pm.

Real time pollution data appeared alarming. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) RK Puram monitoring station recorded PM2.5 and PM10 at 878 and 1,179 micrograms per cubic metre at around 11 pm. The pollutants had violated the corresponding 24-hour safe limits of 60 and 100 respectively by up to 10 times. While it is difficult to quantify the immediate effect of the ban on firecrackers, residents across the national capital felt the beginning was promising with neighbourhoods reporting much lesser noise and smoke till about 6 pm, compared to the previous years. But as the festivities picked up, the faint echo of crackers started growing louder.

According to the SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), the 24-hour rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10 were 154 and 256 micrograms per cubic metre respectively at around 11 pm. It has forecast that the pollution levels will peak between 11 pm and 3 am.

Diwali, diwali Delhi, diwali delhi ncr, diwali NCR, delhi pollution, delhi diwali pollution, delhi air quality, firecrackers sale ban, supreme court, delhi news, indian express news Children play with firecrackers to celebrate Diwali in New Delhi Thursday. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring regions of Delhi such as Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual, raising question marks on the efficacy of the administration in enforcing the apex court’s ban. However, the SAFAR has also predicted a relatively cleaner post-Diwali air due to favourable meteorological conditions, which are helping prevent the smoke-filled air from the agricultural belt of Haryana and Punjab from entering the national capital.

A ‘very poor’ air quality index (AQI) essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air. If the air quality dips further, the AQI will turn ‘severe’, which may trouble even those with sound health conditions and seriously affect those with ailments. The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) is empowered to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Measures under the GRAP’s ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories, which include a ban on diesel generator sets, came into effect on October 17 and they will remain in force till March 15.

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  1. Nitin Deolekar
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:59 am
    Black-British from Delhi have Looted Entire country especially Non-Hindi people?? That is why they may be suffering Now??
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. K
      Kafir
      Oct 20, 2017 at 10:45 am
      Ban fire crackers for new year celebration now! :) :)
      (6)(1)
      Reply
      1. S
        Swadeshi
        Oct 20, 2017 at 11:06 am
        Ban the loudy music and congregation during new year...it's noise and moral pollution
        (5)(1)
        Reply
      2. H
        Hedonist
        Oct 20, 2017 at 10:33 am
        Azaan is causing sound pollution. Bakrid is causing water pollution.
        (5)(3)
        Reply
        1. K
          Khan Chacha
          Oct 20, 2017 at 11:42 am
          Yes, IN Bakrid, Idols are immersed in water bodies.
          (2)(1)
          Reply
          1. N
            N K
            Oct 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm
            Where the slaughter animal's blood goes ? It does not vaporize. This is the most cruel form of celebrating any festival. Y u sacrifice animals at first place.
            (3)(1)
          2. H
            HAHA
            Oct 20, 2017 at 5:07 pm
            your surviving on this earth is polluting it the most.
            (0)(0)
            Reply
          3. R
            Raj sharma
            Oct 20, 2017 at 10:18 am
            To all those in favor of banning crackers, I hope you all use horse carts or walk. Do not use AC’s and all modern amenities else it is nothing just pathetic hypocrisy
            (6)(3)
            Reply
            1. P
              Pawpaw
              Oct 20, 2017 at 10:38 am
              Ive have ACs in my house but i always try to sit in the fan , ive a car but i prefer using a bicycle , i didnt polluted the air by using fireworks on diwali...atleat we can try our best to lessen the pollution. If u are an adult and used firworks on diwali then u sure have a manchcild behaviour..
              (6)(5)
              Reply
              1. S
                Shashank
                Oct 20, 2017 at 11:20 am
                You should not even use fan as thermal power plants are the biggest polluters. You should not use even bicycle as they are the product of steel plant, the biggest air and water polluter. You should not watch TV, use headphone as they are the most potent noise polluters. You should not eat rice as they are the biggest emitter of methane GHG. You should not use RO as they waste more water than purify.
                (1)(0)
                1. K
                  Khan Chacha
                  Oct 20, 2017 at 11:43 am
                  Nitwits still don't understand that it's their own children who are going top suffer the most if such polluted air prevails. What Do you EAT ?
                  (1)(2)
                2. H
                  HAHA
                  Oct 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm
                  At least those things serve some purpose. What purpose those firecrackers serve ?
                  (0)(0)
                  Reply
                3. A
                  Anonymous
                  Oct 20, 2017 at 9:55 am
                  The crackers and the smoke and pollution from them cause endless trouble to innocent animals. Even the cow whom we worship. So what are the bhakts talking about ?
                  (7)(6)
                  Reply
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