Fewer firecrackers this Diwali, but Delhi pollution level now 'hazardous'

Environment body advised residents of Delhi-NCR to use face masks whenever possible

Representative image. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Photo: Shutterstock

Air quality in the national capital remained on the negative side on the occasion of Diwali, on Thursday.

On the Air Quality Index, Delhi's Anand Vihar was marked at 740 (Hazardous), Punjabi Bagh was at 466 (Hazardous), while R K Puram was at 298 (Very unhealthy).

Measures under the "very poor" and "severe" categories of the plan came into force on Tuesday, under which the Badarpur Thermal Power Station has been shut and diesel-run generators banned in Delhi, among other actions.

EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal and Member Sunita Narain announced the decision following a review meeting here.

"DG sets will be banned only in Delhi, conditional to air quality index reaching to very poor or severe," said Narain.

Narain said parking fees could be hiked in Delhi, despite the fact that a parking policy was still being worked out, if air pollution aggravated further. In case it touched alarming proportions, "cars will have to be off the roads", she added.

The environment body has also advised the residents of Delhi-NCR to use face masks whenever possible. It has also raised concerns over the existing landfill sites in the capital.

The efforts come in the wake of degrading air quality in the national capital, which has entered into the 'Red Zone'.

In a bid to keep a check on pollution, several measures have been passed in the recent past, the most recent being a ban on the sale of firecrackers.

The continually worsening condition of air quality in Delhi led the Supreme Court on October 9 to ban the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi and adjoining regions till November 1, with the view to reduce pollution.

However, the ban ordered mere 10 days before the festival on the sale of crackers has not stopped the citizens from bursting crackers.

Prior to this, the government had issued prohibitory orders on stubble burning, as it had become a major concern for authorities, resulting in air pollution as well as the reduction in soil fertility.

Following the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), state governments and district administration tightened strictures against stubble burning, and booked charges against farmers, who are not following orders.