The Supreme Court ban on sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali in Delhi seems to have a negligible effect as data released on Friday morning show poor quality of air in various parts of the city. Apart from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai also showed pollution levels at a high a day after Diwali. Though the air quality on Diwali in Delhi was better this year as compared to last year, it was still reported to be at ‘severe’ and ‘hazardous’ levels in many parts of the city. The Air Quality Index (AQI) value on Thursday in Delhi was 319, which is ‘very poor’; while the AQI for last year on Diwali was ‘severe’ at 431, data sourced from AQICN revealed.
The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city rose sharply after 7 pm. 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.
The situation was similar in 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.
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.
The effects of Diwali could be seen in Mumbai as well which has reported an AQI of ‘hazardous’ at 410, and PM 2.5 at as high as 535 on Friday morning. The city witnessed very high levels of PM 2.5 at 535 on Friday morning. Last year Mumbai had recorded AQI 278 on Diwali compared to AQI of 305 this year, data sourced from AQICN showed.
In Chennai, the AQI was recorded at 263 on Diwali, which was celebrated on Wednesday, while on Thursday the air quality worsened with a registered index value of 302. Last year on Diwali, the AQI recorded for the city stood at 291 which was on the day of the celebrations, the pollution levels were restored to moderate levels the next day, according to data by the CPCB.