Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

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

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

It was 663 on Thursday morning. "The air quality in the capital city is being monitored for 14 days based on the directive by CPCB".

The air quality continued to get worse in the national capital Delhi on Friday. During Diwali days, four stations recorded "moderate" air quality while three recorded "satisfactory". The permissible limit of PM2.5 is 60 µg/m3 while that of pollutant PM10 is 100 µg/m3.

In a gross violation of a Supreme Court order, people in several cities burst firecrackers before and after the specified time period.

Much of the data was recorded after 6 p.m., or close to the Supreme Court-mandated time frame for bursting crackers.

A thick haze engulfed the national capital on Wednesday with the air quality deteriorating to the "very poor" category.

Delhi was among 14 Indian cities that figured in a list of the 20 most polluted cities across the globe this year, issued by the WHO. It had additionally permitted fabricate and offer of just "green crackers", which have a low light and sound outflow and less destructive synthetic concoctions. South Delhi resident Sagarika Sharma said she had lost her mother to lung cancer a year ago. "But, we will take strict action against them", said an official.

"We have registered 14 cases so far against unknown persons in connection with the violation (of the Supreme Court order)", Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashwani Kapoor said Thursday. Questioned about the air quality readings, West Bengal Pollution Control Board chairperson Kalyan Rudra refused to draw any conclusion about the improvement or deterioration in the air pollution during Kali Puja and Diwali.

All online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city indicated "poor" and "very poor" air quality. In the next 24 hours, including Diwali night, the AQI crept up to 354.

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring regions of Delhi such as Gurgaon, 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.

The ultra-fine particulates of PM2.5 and PM10 enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream. This means that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses.

Firecrackers are traditionally let off during the Diwali week but worsening air quality at the onset of winter in Delhi and most of northern India has forced authorities to call for desperate measures, including banning use of private cars.

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