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Delhi's air quality nosedives towards very poor category as people celebrate noisy Diwali

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Delhi's air quality nosedived towards the "very poor" category Wednesday night as people violated a order and burst firecrackers before and after the 8 pm to 10 pm timeframe in many areas, the authorities said.

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 296 at 10 pm.

The AQI was 281 at 7 pm. It rose to 291 at 8 pm and further deteriorated to 294 at 9 pm, according to the Board (CPCB).

However, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) recorded the overall AQI at 319, which falls in the "very poor" category.

The had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals. It had also allowed manufacture and sale of only "green crackers", which have a low light and sound emission and

The court had asked the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and said in case of any violation, the (SHO) of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of the court.

But despite the apex court order, there were reports of its violation from many areas in the national capital.

Several areas showed a spike in the air pollution. Areas like Anand Vihar, ITO and Jahangirpuri recorded very high pollution levels.

Violations of the order were reported from Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka, Sector 78 among other places.

The police admitted that there were violations, adding that they would take serious legal action against those violating the apex court order.

The of the pollution monitoring stations in the city indicated "poor" and "very poor" air quality as the volume of ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 8 pm.

According to the CPCB data, the 24-hour rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10 were 164 and 294 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

The SAFAR forecast "bad" air quality Thursday even though partially toxic crackers were burst as compared to 2017. It also said the pollution levels would peak between 11 am and 3 am Wednesday and Thursday.

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring areas of such as Gurugram, and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual, raising question marks on the efficacy of the administration in enforcing the apex court's ban.

A "very poor" AQI essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air. If the air quality dips further, the AQI will turn "severe", which may trouble even those with sound health conditions and seriously affect those with ailments.

As many as 209 calls were received by the Fire Services on Diwali, including one related to a huge fire in a factory at Bawana, officials said.

Of these, 89 calls were related to fire incidents at garbage and dumpyards, while the rest were related to fire incidents involving electric wires, at factories and residential areas, a senior Fire Services officer said.

The officials said the number of calls related to firecrackers was comparatively low, but there was no decline in the number of calls related to fire incidents.

The Centre, in collaboration with the Delhi government, has launched a 10-day "Clean Air Campaign" from November 1 to 10 to monitor and report polluting activities as well as to ensure quick action.

About 52 teams deployed under the campaign are visiting different parts of Delhi and the adjacent towns of Faridabad, Gurugram, and

The teams are being led by the sub-divisional magistrates of the respective areas and comprise senior officials of the Ministry of Environment, (MoEFCC), representatives of the CPCB, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Committee (DPCC).

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 07 2018. 23:50 IST
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