Delhi: Air quality remains very unhealthy and poor

08 November, 2018, 07:02 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • 'Hazardous' air pollution in India's capital prompts emergency measures

However, authorities fear that after the Diwali (Hindu festival of lights) celebrations, the air pollution in Delhi is expected to rise on Thursday.

However, if crackers are burst, despite strict orders in place, the air quality may deteriorate and fall under 'severe category'.

The early onset of winter's cool and foggy weather coupled with pollution created by fireworks during Diwali and ongoing high levels of pollution have triggered this situation, experts say.

The overall air quality index of Delhi was registered at 345 which falls in the "very poor" category.

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Citizens Tuesday protested against the rising air pollution and submitted a letter to senior official of the Union Environment Ministry and the Delhi government, demanding their "Right to Breath" and faster implementation of a time-bound National Clean Air Program.

As per the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali. Apart from being engulfed in a haze, several areas of the city saw the particulate matter (PM) 2.5 which refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air known to cause respiratory illnesses being reported above 300 putting the air quality index (AQI) in "very poor" category.

Local residents and tourists alike said they were feeling the ill-effects of the smog, complaining of difficulties in breathing and cutting back in outdoor activities. Air quality will be "bad" on Thursday, 8 November - a day after Diwali - even if "partial toxic crackers" are used as compared to previous year, SAFAR said.

The air quality will be bad on November 8 "even if 50% of the total load of toxic firecrackers as compared to Diwali-2017 is added". The PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 243, while the PM10 was recorded at 372 in Delhi on Tuesday. But this year there are some worries, especially in the capital of New Delhi.

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Also, the apex court had banned the sale of traditional crackers and allowed only "green crackers" in Delhi-NCR, but there was no clarity as to how many people could procure these, or the ones not containing the polluting barium salts.

Joint Secretary of the IMA, Dr Anil Goyal, urged the public to have a safer Diwali by avoiding the use of firecrackers and alcohol.

The contribution of stubble burning to pollution levels has decreased from 33% to 9% and is expected to decline further because of sufficiently high wind speed, the report highlighted. This time is no different.

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