Delhi Pollution: Air quality 'severe' as national capital chokes

Delhi air pollution

Delhi air pollution

The air quality began to deteriorate from 7 pm on Diwali evening.

The "hazardous" figure is roughly 33 times the World Health Organization safe limit of 25 and health experts advise people to stay indoors or use masks for protection.

The Supreme Court had instructed that only "green" fireworks be burst between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali. "As per the notification, entry of heavy and medium goods vehicles into the national capital will be banned from 11pm of November 8 till 11pm of November 11", said Special Commissioner of Transport department K K Dahiya, as reported by The Indian Express.

The overall air quality index or AQI was 10 times the safe limit - AQI above 500 falls in the "severe-plus emergency" category, according to the government-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research. Any reading between 301 and 400 is "very poor" and can cause "respiratory illness on prolonged exposure".

The index measures air quality taking into account particulate matter - PM 2.5, or very fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, and PM 10 which are less than 10 micrometers in diameter - as well as other pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to a SAFAR advisory.

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The concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 had increased from 50 per cent to 70 per cent last night, indicating an increased share of locally-generated firecracker emissions, SAFAR said.

While other cities across north India recorded AQI scores of between 300 and 350, the air was significantly better in central and southern cities - with with the air in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, deemed "satisfactory" with a AQI score of only 64.

However, violations were reported from across Delhi, including areas like Anand Vihar, ITO, Jahangirpuri Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP Extension and Dwarka.

Admitting that violations were observed, police said it was manually not possible to monitor every incident considering the population of the city and a complete ban on firecrackers can't be imposed till the entire community is willing to join hands.

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