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Delhi Air In “Severe” Category As Cracker Ban Goes Up In Smoke On Diwali

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on November 04, 2021 with No Comments

People from several parts of the city and its suburbs complained of itchy throat and watery eyes, as a layer of smog, the first episode this season, lingered over the region.

The air in Delhi and surrounding areas hung heavy with acrid smoke as people burst firecrackers on Diwali in a blatant disregard to the government’s ban on it amid a sharp increase in fumes from farm fires.

Continuing its upward trend, the city’s air quality index, which stood at 382 at 4 pm, entered the severe zone around 8 pm as low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants.

The neighbouring cities of Faridabad (424), Ghaziabad (442), Gurgaon (423) and Noida (431) also recorded ‘severe’ air quality with cracker bursting peaking after 9 pm.

People from several parts of the city and its suburbs complained of itchy throat and watery eyes, as a layer of smog, the first episode this season, lingered over the region.

Residents of Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi, Burari in North Delhi, Paschim Vihar in West Delhi and Shahdara in East Delhi reported incidents of firecracker bursting as early as 7 pm, despite the blanket ban in the national capital till January 1, 2022.

A substantial dip in cracker bursting in the evening seemed a break from tradition. But it did not take long for the sound of explosions to pierce the silence, a resident of Kailash Hills said.

Several incidents of high-intensity cracker bursting were reported from Gurgaon and Faridabad.

The Haryana government has also imposed a ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in 14 of its districts in the National Capital Region, while curbs were put in other parts.

Experts said the air quality turned severe owing to unfavourable meteorological conditions — calm winds, low temperature and low mixing height — and a poisonous cocktail of emissions from firecrackers, stubble burning and local sources.

Earlier in the day, the city reported its first episode of fog which lowered visibility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the Safdarjung Airport to the range of 600-800 metres in the morning.

It continued to remain in the poor range of 800-900 meters throughout the day due to calm wind conditions, senior IMD scientist R K Jenamani said.

The first episode of smog coincided with the share of farm fires in Delhi’s pollution increasing to the season’s highest at 25 per cent.

Gufran Beig, the founder-project director of SAFAR, said the PM2.5 pollution will shoot up rapidly by Friday early morning with the AQI even crossing the 500 mark.

 

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