Firework smog chokes Delhi as India celebrates Diwali

Frederick Owens
November 10, 2018

This year too, the pollution level spiked to severe-plus emergency levels due to rampant burning of firecrackers leading to the formation of a smoky layer across Delhi.

The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 PM to 10 PM on Diwali and allowed sale of only "green crackers" which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals. Similarly, air pollution levels, at 305ìg/m3, were also slightly less than last year's 366 ìg/m3, but it still fell in the "severe" category.

A thick haze engulfed the national capital on Thursday morning, with the air quality deteriorating to "hazardous" category as Delhiites continued to burst firecrackers long after the deadline set by the Supreme Court. While the time limit was flouted at many places, police were cracking down on revellers who were bursting crackers beyond the allotted time. Readings above 500 in the index, which measures poisonous gases and toxic particulate matter in the air, are typically associated with serious aggravation of the heart and lungs. Delhi's air quality depends on the wind direction in the next two days.

Several areas showed a spike in air pollution.

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The capital city was followed by Kolkata with recording the same AQI. "Since the last few years, the noise level has been coming down".

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board also monitors the ambient air quality and noise level'.

A thick cloud of toxic smog almost 10 times the recommended limit continued to envelop Delhi on Friday as the air quality deteriorated and was. recorded under "hazardous" category. Sunil Dahiya, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India, said religious fervour was one of the reasons why people still let off fireworks despite mounting health concerns. Once the PM2.5 level crosses 80 or 100 [micrograms per cubic metre], it has a huge impact on health. It was around four times higher than Wednesday, "IITM said".

As Delhi's government's transport department banned the entry of heavy vehicles in the city from 11 pm on Thursday to 11 pm on November 11, the Supreme Court-appointed environment pollution control authority said it was monitoring the situation and will take emergency measures if the pollution level increases. Delhi was at the sixth position with 143 PM 2.5.

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