Delhi’s air quality plummets to ‘severe’ day after Diwali

Delhi’s air quality plummets to ‘severe’ day after Diwali, Air quality across the national capital turned ‘severe’ on Monday, a day after the Diwali celebrations.

According to the Conformity of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality in Delhi stands at 463 at 9 am. The AQI was 480 at Pusa, 436 at Lodhi Road, 735 at Delhi University, 397 at IIT Delhi and 460 at Delhi airport.

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Delhi recorded “inferior” air with AQI of 390 on November 8, 2018, the day after Diwali. In 2017 it was “severe” with an AQI of 403 (October 20) while in 2016 the AQI was 445 the day after Diwali (October 31). The air quality had remained dangerously high for a week after Diwali in the previous years.

SAFAR had predicted that AQI would dip and enter the “severe” category on Monday. In a statement, it said that wind speed direction and speed might help disperse the pollutants by the next day.

An AQI between 0-50 is rated excellent, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201, 300 poor, 301, 400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.Delhi’s air quality plummets to ‘severe’ day after Diwali

In the run-up to Diwali this year, the air quality has been much cleaner in comparison to days preceding the festival since 2016. Experts had warned that the real test would start after Diwali. On Saturday, a day before Diwali, AQI was 287 (paltry) compared to 338 (very poor) on the festival’s eve last year. AQI on Diwali eve in 2017 was “very poor” at 302.

Authorities have sounded a “high alert” on Saturday and put banned overnight construction work. Coal-based industries were also shut till Wednesday.

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This year, there were restrictions put on fireworks and only “green crackers”, with 30% fewer emissions than traditional ones, were allowed. Green crackers do not contain harmful chemicals like Barium.

Crackers can be burst only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali, according to Supreme Court guidelines. The top court had in 2018 banned polluting firecrackers and ordered that only green crackers can be manufactured and sold.

Scientists from (IIT) Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur had recently said that the period between October 29 and November 12 would be the most crucial in the fight against pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The scientists had said that this period smoke from farm fires in nearby states drifts into NCR and the air is heavy as the weather gets cold. All these factors, coupled with the emissions from vehicles and industries along with road and construction dust, create a toxic mix in the environment.

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