Two days after Diwali, air quality 'very poor' in Delhi

A child protects his face amid heavy smog due to bursting of firecrackers despite the ban imposed by the Supreme Court to control the air pollution following Diwali celebrations in New Delhi on Thursday

"Coincidentally, the air quality index two days after Diwali remains the same as previous year", Vivek Chattopadhyaya, air quality expert at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said, adding that weather also played a crucial role in air quality.

Measures under the GRAP's "very poor" and "severe" categories, which include a ban on diesel generator sets, have come into effect and will remain in force till 15th of March next year. PM2.5 are small particles that can enter the bloodstream through the lungs.

In addition, "The sound level data on Deepawali day monitored during last four years reveals that in 2017 the sound level recorded is the lowest at all stations, even in humid atmospheric conditions", said an analysis revealed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which is India's nodal pollution watchdog. The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday showed moderate pollution levels, with PM10 at 141 µg/m³ and PM2.5 at 87 µg/m³.

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Delhi's air quality level of "very poor" on the day of Diwali was best in past three years but the air quality was far from satisfactory as it climbed to "severe" level on Friday evening - a day after the Diwali celebrations. The highest levels of PM2.5 were observed between 10pm Thursday and 3am Friday. However, in 2013 and 2015, levels were as high as 124dB and 123.1dB. The Air Quality List (AQI) value on Thursday was 319, placing it in "very poor" class, while the AQI last Diwali (30 October) had touched "severe" level subsequent to recording an index value of 431. "We took all precautions while bursting crackers but he could not escape from the harmful air", said M Pooja, a resident of Gurunanak Colony.The same is the situation at other eye hospitals with patients rushing in with swollen eyes, burn injuries near eyes and red eye problem. "Peak noise levels continued until the police substantially shut down firecracker use by about 12.30 am, although stray violations continued". But I heard there was one family that burst crackers for an hour or so.

Abdulali added that rather than banning crackers, the state government needs to ensure that the Controller of Explosives in Nagpur identifies that decibel levels on each cracker post noise monitoring by the state pollution control board.

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