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Delhi Becomes ‘Gas Chamber’ After Diwali, AQI severe

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The Delhi air quality index plummeted to the “severe” category, following the festival of Diwali. Subsequently, the national capital woke up under a blanket of toxic smog. Although Delhi has a record of the worst air quality of all world capitals, Friday’s reading was extra bad. Delhiites paid the price for celebrating India’s biggest festival in the noisiest, and most smoky way.

Continuing its upward trend, the city’s air quality index stood at 382 at 4 pm on November 4, 2021. Afterwards, it entered the severe zone around 8 pm. The low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants to worsen the air condition.

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“Overall air quality is in ‘severe’ category today after bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and presence of bio-mass pollutants in Delhi. The air quality and fog condition to improve once wind speed picks up. No wind and high moisture are causing fog conditions,” said RK Jenamani, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi.

As per reports, the concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 stood at 999 per cubic metre at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on the morning of 5 November 2021. It was against the WHO’s prescribed safe limit which was 25. Further, the AQI in Anand Vihar was recorded at 467 at 6 pm on Friday. Chandni Chowk recorded 443 and Jahangirpuri 481. Also, NSIT Dwarka stands at 457 and Sirifort at 465 among other stations. Airborne PM2.5 can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as lung cancer.

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diwali AQI
Image source: Times of India

What was the Delhi government doing?

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in the national capital had imposed a blanket ban on bursting firecrackers, including green ones, on Diwali and till January 1. However, the prohibition was openly violated by the citizens of the city.

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On October 27, the Delhi government had launched the ‘Patakhe Nahi Diye Jalao’ campaign to create awareness against the bursting of crackers. Under the campaign, action can be taken under relevant IPC provisions and the Explosives Act against anyone found burning crackers. According to the government, more than 13,000 kilograms of illegal firecrackers have been seized and 33 people arrested so far under the anti-cracker campaign.

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