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Delhi’s air quality worsens, in ‘ very poor’ category a day after Diwali


Despite ban on firecrackers in the national capital, people flouted the rules as a large number of high-decibel crackers thundered throughout Diwali night on Monday, as reported by news agency PTI. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai last week had said bursting firecrackers in the national capital on Diwali will attract a jail term of up to six months and a fine of 200.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI in the overall Delhi region was in the ‘very poor’ category at 323. However, in Lodhi Road, the AQI was in the ‘poor’ category at 273.

In the Delhi University area and Pusa the AQI remained in ‘very poor’ category at 365 and 322 respectively. Further, near IIT Delhi, the AQI was in ‘poor’ category at 280. At Mathura Road, the AQI was in the ‘very poor’ category at 322. Around Delhi airport, the AQI remained in the ‘very poor’ category at 354.

The air quality in the national capital is also affected because of stubble burning in surrounding Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan in the winter.

Also Read: Stubble burning contribution to Delhi’s pollution increases to 10 per cent on Diwali

Bursting of firecrackers on Diwali is an age-old tradition, but authorities in Delhi said the decision to restrict it was taken after considering environmental concerns and health hazards associated with it.

A large number of high-decibel firecrackers thundered throughout Diwali night on Monday as people in Delhi flouted the ban imposed on these by the city government.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai last week said bursting firecrackers in the national capital on Diwali will attract a jail term of up to six months and a fine of 200.

Despite the legal deterrent in place, people in many parts of the city, including in south and northwest Delhi, started bursting crackers by dusk. High-intensity firecrackers could be heard going off on the ground or mid-air.

And, as the night progressed the intensity of firecrackers increased breaching permissible decibel limits, prompting some to wonder “if there was any ban at all”.

Bursting of firecrackers on Diwali is an age-old tradition, but authorities in Delhi said the decision to restrict it was taken after considering environmental concerns and health hazards associated with it.

In case firecrackers are burst like last year, the air quality may plunge to “severe” levels on the night of Diwali itself and continue to remain in the “red” zone for another day, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) had earlier predicted.

On Monday, in south Delhi’s East of Kailash, and neighbouring places like Nehru Place and Moolchand, firecrackers going off mid-air could be heard in the evening. Some residents burst crackers in their neighbourhood like every year.

In Burari too, many residents burst firecrackers despite widespread dissemination of information about the ban.

In Laxmi Nagar, Mayur Vihar and Shahdara in east Delhi, the situation was similar. While the intensity in the late evening was lower compared to last year, it rose after 9 pm. 

Loud thuds of crackers were also reported in southwest Delhi’s Munirka area.

Bipasha Ghosh, 19, who came to south Delhi’s Kailash Hills area from Kolkata, a few days ago, said, “In my area, it went on past 11 pm. I wonder if there is a ban on bursting firecrackers in Delhi. Also, those doing it are irresponsible and insensitive to the environment and to people who have respiratory problems and other health issues”.

Many people complained of itchy skin and a burning sensation in their eyes due to smoke from bursting firecrackers.

A total of 408 teams had been set up to implement the ban.

The Delhi Police set up 210 teams under assistant commissioners of police, while the revenue department set up 165 teams and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee 33 teams.

In neighbouring cities of Gurugram and Faridabad too, many people burst firecrackers.

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’.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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