Post Diwali, Delhi grapples with 'very poor' air quality

Post Diwali, Delhi grapples with 'very poor' air quality

Post Diwali, Delhi grapples with 'very poor' air quality

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi's air quality is showing improvement but at a very slow pace due to weather conditions. On Wednesday, it banned the entry of diesel-run trucks into New Delhi from November 8-10 to control the pollution levels. An Air Quality Index reading between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is considered satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is severe or hazardous.

Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta said the violation of the deadline was not unexpected as one can not expect an overnight change in people's behaviour because of a court order. However, reports have claimed that Delhi is not the most polluted city in the country.

Two days after Diwali, toxic smog is choking the Capital as air quality index recorded "severe" levels on Friday with the concentration of harmful particulate matter hovering between four to five times the safe levels.

The US embassy air quality index is a combined measure of poisonous gases and fine airborne particles.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 999 in Delhi's Anand Vihar and around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, and at 459 in the Chanakyapuri area around the USA embassy - all under the "Hazardous" category, ANI reported. Violations were also reported in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other major cities. "This smoke is bad for people suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and particularly bad for children", Dr S K Katiyar, respiratory diseases specialist, told PTI.

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A senior government official had told Reuters the city was heading into a "deadly cocktail" of pollution due to fireworks around Diwali and crop residue burning by farmers. PM2.5 levels were recorded at 330. For Mumbaikars, it was a noisy Diwali this year.

Rias Ahmed, an auto rickshaw driver, said it was highly unlikely that air pollution was going to decrease in and around the Indian capital.

Seasonal burning of crop stubble and smoke from fireworks let off to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali on November 7 have aggravated already high smog levels in the past few days from vehicle emissions, industrial gases and construction work. Legal experts said law enforcement agencies must be made accountable for the breaches that can hurt the ambitious efforts to combat pollution.

"The Supreme Court order on fireworks was not followed and health warnings from the government were limited to few newspapers and some websites", said Greenpeace campaigner Sunil Dahiya.

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