Firework smog chokes Delhi as India celebrates Diwali

PageTurnerExcerpt       How we breathe the cleanest air in one of Delhi’s most polluted office areas
       
       	        Kamal Meattle and Barun Aggarwal         7 Novem

PageTurnerExcerpt How we breathe the cleanest air in one of Delhi’s most polluted office areas Kamal Meattle and Barun Aggarwal 7 Novem

On 6 November, a day before Diwali, Delhi's air quality was 418 which is "hazardous" at 11am.

The national capital saw its first smog episode on November 5.

Partly as a result of smoke from crackers, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi jumped to 574 which falls in the "severe-plus emergency" category, according to data by the Centre-run SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research). Air quality monitoring stations at CRRI Mathura Road, Nehru Nagar and Okhla Phase-2 were the worst-affected localities with AQI of over 450.

Two days after Diwali, the air quality across NCR remains in the severe category with an average AQI reading of 466 for PM 10 as well as PM 2.5 levels.

Air pollution in New Delhi hit hazardous levels on Thursday after a night of free-for-all Diwali fireworks, despite the Supreme Court's efforts to curb the smog-fuelling partying.




Local television news channels said Kejriwal had left the country on a private family trip to Dubai, triggering a backlash on social media and finger pointing on Twitter by the Delhi arm of India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Till November 10, construction activities have already been stopped and trucks, except those carrying essential goods, have been barred from entering the city. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to the advisory issued by SAFAR. The Meteorological Department said there was low surface wind speed, between 3-6 kmph on Friday and therefore, the AQI remained in the "severe" zone as the pollutants were not blown away.

Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation, which has been campaigning against noise pollution for years, said, "All I can say is that the Supreme Court's guidelines were flouted, but the state government and its machinery tried their best to check people and adhere to the permissible time limit".

The court said the police should ensure that there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station of the area would be held personally liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court.

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.

Latest News