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Party's over: Diwali leaves Delhi wheezing in dangerously unhealthy air

The overall air quality index in the national capital was 617 in the morning and entered the ‘hazardous’ category, reported CNN_News18 citing data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

November 05, 2021 / 01:09 PM IST
A day after Diwali, the air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas turned “hazardous" on November 5 as people burst firecrackers on the festival of lights in a blatant disregard to the government's ban on it amid a sharp increase in fumes from farm fires. The overall air quality index in the national capital was 617 in the morning and entered the ‘hazardous’ category, reported CNN_News18 citing data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).(Image: Reuters)
A day after Diwali, the air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas turned 'hazardous' on November 5 as people burst firecrackers on the festival of lights in a blatant disregard to the government's ban on it amid a sharp increase in fumes from farm fires. The overall air quality index in the national capital was 617 in the morning and entered the ‘hazardous’ category, reported CNN News18 citing data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). (Image: Reuters)
Thick smog covers #Delhi sky, visibility reduced; overall air quality in 'very poor' category. (Image: ANI)
Thick smog covers Delhi sky, visibility reduced; overall air quality in 'very poor' category. (Image: ANI)
On the day of Diwali, the city's air quality index, which stood at 382 at 4 pm, entered the severe zone around 8 pm as low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants. The neighbouring cities of Faridabad (424), Ghaziabad (442), Gurgaon (423) and Noida (431) also recorded 'severe' air quality with cracker bursting peaking after 9 pm. (Image: ANI)
New Delhi has the worst air quality of all world capitals, but even by its sorry standards Friday's reading was extra bad, as people paid the price for celebrating India's biggest festival in the noisiest, and most smoky way. On the day of Diwali, the city's air quality index, which stood at 382 at 4 pm, entered the severe zone around 8 pm as low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants. The neighbouring cities of Faridabad (424), Ghaziabad (442), Gurgaon (423) and Noida (431) also recorded 'severe' air quality with cracker bursting peaking after 9 pm. (Image: ANI)
Thick smog shrouds Noida, visibility reduced. (Image: ANI)
Thick smog shrouds Noida, visibility reduced. (Image: ANI)
"The firecracker ban didn't seem to be successful in Delhi, which led to hazardous pollution levels adding on top of existing perennial sources," Sunil Dahiya, Analyst, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said. Every year, either government authorities or India's Supreme Court impose a ban on firecrackers. But the bans rarely appear to be enforced. (Image: Reuuters)
"The firecracker ban didn't seem to be successful in Delhi, which led to hazardous pollution levels adding on top of existing perennial sources," Sunil Dahiya, Analyst, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), said. Every year, either government authorities or the Supreme Court impose a ban on firecrackers. But the bans rarely appear to be enforced. (Image: ANI)
Making matters worse, Diwali falls in period when farmers in the Delhi's neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn the stubble left after harvesting to prepare their fields for the next crop. Stubble fires accounted for up to 35% of New Delhi's PM2.5 levels, according to data from SAFAR's monitoring system, which falls under the federal Ministry of Earth Sciences A rare spell of clear skies in October due to intermittent rains and winds had helped Delhiites breathe their cleanest air in at least four years. (Image: ANI)
Making matters worse, Diwali falls in period when farmers in the Delhi's neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn the stubble left after harvesting to prepare their fields for the next crop.
Stubble fires accounted for up to 35 percent of New Delhi's PM2.5 levels, according to data from SAFAR's monitoring system, which falls under the federal Ministry of Earth Sciences. A rare spell of clear skies in October due to intermittent rains and winds had helped Delhiites breathe their cleanest air in at least four years. (Image: ANI)
Traffic moves on a flyover on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, November 4, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the 24-hour average PM2.5 concentration in Delhi-NCR rose from 243 micrograms per cubic meter at 6 pm to 263 micrograms per cubic meter at 9 pm, more than four times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter. The national capital's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 382 on November 4, up from 314 on November 3. It was 303 on November 2 and 281 on November 1. At around 3 am, the air quality at Janpath fell to the ‘hazardous’ category with PM2.5 at 655.07, as per the report. Here, traffic moves on a flyover on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on November 4, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
People ride a boat across Yamuna river on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, November 4, 2021.
People ride a boat across Yamuna river on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India on November 4, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
People from several parts of the city and its suburbs complained of itchy throat and watery eyes, as a layer of smog, the first episode this season, lingered over the region. Residents of Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi, Burari in North Delhi, Paschim Vihar in West Delhi, and Shahdara in East Delhi reported incidents of firecracker bursting as early as 7 pm, despite the blanket ban in the national capital till January 1, 2022. (Image: ANI)
People from several parts of the city and its suburbs complained of itchy throat and watery eyes, as a layer of smog, the first episode this season, lingered over the region. Residents of Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi, Burari in North Delhi, Paschim Vihar in West Delhi, and Shahdara in East Delhi reported incidents of firecracker bursting as early as 7 pm, despite the blanket ban in the national capital till January 1, 2022. (Image: ANI)
Indian governments are often accused of not doing enough to curb pollution, as they prioritise economic growth to lift living standards in the world's second-most populated country. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that India would achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, but some experts reckoned that target was at least two decades too late. (Image: ANI)
The government is often accused of not doing enough to curb pollution, as they prioritise economic growth to lift living standards in the world's second-most populated country. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that India would achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, but some experts reckoned that target was at least two decades too late. (Image: ANI)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 5, 2021 01:09 pm

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