The air quality in the country’s gas chamber, NCR, deteriorated as a consequence of Delhiites who continued to burst firecrackers long after the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court, the authorities exclaimed. On Wednesday, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 302 at 11 pm. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), this level of AQI falls under the very poor category.
Soon after 7 pm, the quality started dropping rapidly. The AQI was 281 at 7 pm, 291 at 8 pm, 294 at 9 pm, and further deteriorated to 296 by 10 pm, according to the CPCB.
The Apex Court had said that bursting of firecrackers was allowed from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals. Other than that, the manufacture and sale of only ‘green crackers’, which have a low light and sound emission with less harmful chemicals, was permitted.
The court had asked the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and said in case of any violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of the court.
However, incidents of its violation from many areas long after 10 pm were reported, despite the Supreme Court order.
Several areas showed a prickling level of air pollution. Anand Vihar, ITO and Jahangirpuri, were among the areas that recorded extreme pollution levels.
Violations of the SC order were reported from Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka, Noida Sector 78, among other places.
The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city indicated "poor" and "very poor" air quality as the volume of ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 8 pm.
According to the CPCB data, the 24-hour rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10 were 164 and 294 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.
The SAFAR forecast "bad" air quality Thursday even though partially toxic crackers were burst as compared to 2017. It also said the pollution levels would peak between 11 am and 3 am on Wednesday and Thursday.
The acute air pollution was witnessed not only in Delhi but also in the neighbouring areas such as Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad. Here the firecrackers were burst, as usual, neglecting the apex court’s ban.
A "very poor" AQI essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a 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.
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.
The Centre, in collaboration with the Delhi government, has launched a 10-day "Clean Air Campaign" from November 1 to 10 to monitor and report polluting activities as well as to ensure quick action.
About 52 teams deployed under the campaign are visiting different parts of Delhi and the adjacent towns of Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, and Noida.
The teams are being led by the sub-divisional magistrates of the respective areas and comprise senior officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), representatives of the CPCB, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).