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On Diwali, pollution levels spike in Delhi, air quality ‘severe’ in many parts

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the highest impact of firecracker emissions is expected early on Monday from 1-6 am.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 27, 2019 7:47:12 pm
The overall air quality index in the city stood at 313 at 9 am in the morning, with a thin layer of toxic air hanging over. (Express File Photo)

Pollution levels in Delhi spiked up on Diwali, with air quality in many parts of the city being “severe”, PTI quoted government agencies as saying. The officials said pollution levels might go up on Sunday night due to firecracker emissions, unfavourable weather and stubble burning.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the highest impact of firecracker emissions is expected early on Monday from 1-6 am. “If 50 per cent of the total load of firecrackers (average of Diwali 2017 and 2018) is added, the AQI may plunge to the severe category for a short period,” it said and added that the situation would be less bad than last years.

It, however, added that stubble-burning incidents in Haryana and Punjab were increasing gradually and following almost the same pattern as last October. The overall air quality index in the city stood at 313 at 9 am in the morning, with a thin layer of toxic air hanging over.

On Saturday, the city’s overall air quality stood at 302 and was in the lower end of the “very poor” category.

According to Delhi government’s air quality monitors, the levels of PM10 — a tiny particulate matter of diameter 10 or less than 10 microns that can enter deep into the lungs — reached as high as 515 micrograms per cubic metre in Anand Vihar. In Wazirpur, PM 2.5 levels crossed the 400 mark.

Out of the 37 air quality monitors in the city, 29 of them recorded their Air Quality Index (AQI) in the “very poor” category. The AQI in the satellite towns of Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, and Noida was 313, 392, 308 and 352.

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

The time between October 15 to November 15 is considered very critical for Delhi-NCR’s air quality due to stubble burning, firecracker emissions on Diwali, and weather changes across the region.

With Delhi’s air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court last year banned polluting firecrackers and ordered that only green firecrackers, which is said to cause 30 per cent less pollution, can be manufactured and sold.

But even after that, people continued to buy conventional firecrackers and use them.

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