Delhi, Neighbouring Cities Wrapped In Smog Blanket 2 Days After Diwali

New Delhi:

A thick blanket of toxic smog continued to grip Delhi and nearby cities for the second day today as the air quality index reading remained in the “severe” category.

Delhi’s AQI standing at 6 am was reported at 533, which puts it in the “severe category”. The Particulate Matter (PM) were the highest in the last three years.

“Relief is expected only from the evening of November 7 but AQI will fluctuate within the Very Poor range,” centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research or SAFAR said today.

Delhi’s air quality index plummeted to “severe” category on Friday, following the festival of Diwali as people violated the ban on firecrackers and the national capital woke up under a blanket of toxic smog.

The concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 stood at 341 per cubic metre at Jantar Mntar in the city on Saturday morning – against the WHO’s prescribed safe limit of 25. Airborne PM2.5 can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as lung cancer.

Those with respiratory problems have been advised to stay indoors.

“There is too much smog. We are facing difficulty in breathing. Visibility is low,” said a cyclist.

Another cyclist said: “If the government reinstates the odd-even scheme, there is hope. But right now, it doesn’t seen like pollution will ease”.

Another cyclist said: “If the government reinstates the odd-even scheme, there is hope. But right now, it doesn’t seen like pollution will ease”.

New Delhi has the worst air quality of all world capitals.

Despite Delhi government’s complete ban on firecrackers, including the green ones, several people were seen bursting crackers, contributing to the degradation of the air quality on Diwali – one of the biggest festival in India.

“The firecracker ban didn’t seem to be successful in Delhi, which led to hazardous pollution levels adding on top of existing perennial sources,” Sunil Dahiya, Analyst, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) was quoted saying in a Reuters report.

Unfavourable meteorological conditions — calm winds, low temperature and low mixing height — and a poisonous cocktail of emissions from firecrackers, stubble burning and local sources are among the contributors to the city’s poor air quality, experts say.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

According to SAFAR model forecasts, stubble burning share may increase to 35 per cent on Friday and 40 per cent on Saturday with the wind direction changing to northwesterly.

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