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Post Diwali haze – Air Quality Index Crossed Hazardous Levels

Dimple Gupta
Dimple Gupta
Stubble Burning on Diwali night

Successively, every year after Diwali night the air quality is becoming poor. Last night only the air quality index levels were noted above 450.

Despite the ban imposed by the state government on bursting crackers, people continued it, as a result, a thick blanket of smog has covered Delhi and the surrounding areas on late Thursday and early Friday, i.e. today (5th November 2021).

Yesterday, according to PTI, the air quality index at 4pm was 382 and it was in the severe zone at around 8pm because of low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants. The AQI of neighboring cities of Faridabad (424), Ghaziabad (442), Gurgaon (423) and Noida (431) respectively, reached “severe” air quality with cracker bursting peaking after 9pm. At 3am, morning after Diwali in the capital itself, the pollution levels shot up to 774.69 which were a lot higher – around 1645 at 1am. Across the city – the Nehru Stadium (1103), Okhla (1100) and ITO (948) recorded among the worst PM2.5 levels.

SAFAR (The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) is expecting that the air quality will remain in the “severe” category today as well. Also, without even bursting crackers, the air quality would have fallen further from “very poor” to “severe” category on Thursday night, but bursting crackers can push it to cross the 500-mark in terms of firecracker emissions, SAFAR forecast indicated.

All monitoring stations across the national capital recorded AQI levels above 450 – according to the Central Pollution Control Board.AOI in the range of 0-5 is considered “good”, 51-100 is “satisfactory”, 101-200 is “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”,301 – 400 is “very poor”, and 401-500 the AQI comes under “severe” category.

On 27th October, ‘Patakhe Nahi Diye Jalao’ campaign was launched by the Delhi Government to create awareness about the drawbacks of burning crackers. Under this campaign, anyone found burning crackers; actions will be taken against that person under the relevant provisions of IPC and the Explosives Act. According to the government, 33 people have been arrested so far and 13,000 kg of illegal crackers have been seized.

Already due to the stubble burning season on peak, Delhi’s air quality has been reeling under poor quality. On Thursday, season’s first foggy morning was recorded and the AQI remained in the “very poor” category. Very calm conditions have resulted in the dip in air quality. Stubble burning has contributed around 25% to the pollutants in Delhi, and this might increase to around 35% on November 5th and further to 40% on November 6th and 7th.

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