Following Diwali, air quality plummets to ‘hazardous’ in New Delhi

Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped Delhi-NCR as the air quality this morning plunged to ‘hazardous’. Anand Vihar and areas around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium recorded 999 AQI and Chanakyapuri 459 — exposing people to major health risks.

The Supreme Court had fixed a two-hour time-frame, from 8pm to 10pm, for bursting firecrackers on Diwali. People, however, remained unmindful of the deadline and continued bursting firecrackers till late leading to severe deterioration in air quality.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality was 302 AQI –‘very poor’ category — at 11 pm in Delhi-NCR. It began deteriorating rapidly 7 pm onward when the AQI was recorded 281. It was 291 at 8 pm, 294 at 9 pm and 296 at 10 pm, according to the CPCB.

A “very poor” AQI essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on 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.

Expressing concern over the poor air quality, the Supreme Court had restricted bursting of firecrackers to between 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali and other festivals. The apex court had ordered that only “green crackers”, which have a low light and sound emission and less harmful chemicals, can be sold in NCR.

A “hazardous” AQI essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air and may also trouble even those with sound health conditions and seriously affect those with ailments.

As many as 209 calls were received by the Delhi 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 Delhi Fire Services officer said.

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