Delhi air pollution slips to hazardous level, a day after Diwali


NEW DELHI: The air quality in the national capital again slipped to hazardous level a day after Diwali celebration.


Delhi's pollution level sharply spiked as a thick haze engulfed the national capital and leading to low visibility.

“The AQI of Delhi at 8.30 am was recorded at 458, which falls under the severe category”, said an official of System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

An AQI between 0-50 is considered as “good”, 51-100 as “satisfactory”, 101-200 as “moderate”, 201-300 as “poor”, 301- 400 as “very poor”, and 401-500 as “severe”.

According to the report, the Diwali celebration in Delhi pushed the Air Quality Index (AQI) to hazardous in several parts of the city.

 “Delhi’s Anand Vihar at 999, area around US Embassy, Chanakyapuri at 459 and area around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium at 999, all under 'Hazardous' category in Air Quality Index (AQI)”, ANI tweeted.

The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of crackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali. It had allowed manufacture and sale of only "green crackers", which have a low light and sound emission and less harmful chemicals.

The Supreme Court had asked the police to ensure that there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the station house officers of the police stations concerned would be held "personally liable". This would amount to committing the contempt of court, the Supreme Court had warned.

However, violations were reported from across Delhi, including areas like Anand Vihar, ITO, Jahangirpuri Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP Extension and Dwarka.

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring areas of Delhi such as Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual.

Delhi authorities have stepped up efforts to combat pollution, which includes measures like halting construction activities and regulating traffic.

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and the CPCB have deployed 41 teams across the Delhi NCR to monitor proper implementation of norms enforced to prevent pollution at the source.

According to the report, if the air quality is in the very poor tier, stopping the use of diesel generator sets, increasing parking fees three to four times and increasing the frequency of Metro and bus services put into action.

If the air quality is in the moderate to poor tier- stopping garbage burning in landfills and other places, enforcing all pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries would be implemented.

If the air quality falls in the emergency category, then measures like stopping entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities), stopping construction activities, shutting of school and appointment of the task force to take the decision on any additional steps would be put into action.

If the air quality comes in the severe category, additional measures would be implemented of increasing frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads, the sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has directed the Transport Department and the Traffic Police to intensify checking of polluting vehicles and control travel congestion in the region during November 1-10.

A 10-day-long 'Clean Air Campaign' from November 1-10 has also been launched to monitor and report polluting activities as well as to ensure quick action.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has created social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, where the citizens can lodge their complaints about pollution in their areas, it has received 18 complaints so far.

The weather office has warned that the air quality will further get worse in the next few days during Diwali period when a further spike in pollution is expected to hit the city.

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