Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Delhiites wake up to hazy Diwali morning, air quality remains poor

'Hazardous' air pollution in India's capital prompts emergency measures Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' for the first time this season - Report
Sherry Houston | 08 November, 2018, 07:04

The stubble burning induced impact is expected to decline and if no additional emissions from Firecrackers are added then Air Quality will improve during Diwali period (7-8th November, 2018), but will remain in "Very Poor" category.

On Wednesday which is a Diwali morning, Delhi's air quality improved to "unhealthy" at a number of places as winds continued to blow across the region. Experts have warned of severe spike in pollution levels after Diwali even if "partial toxic crackers" are burnt compared to past year.

The early onset of winter's cool and foggy weather coupled with pollution created by fireworks during Diwali and ongoing high levels of pollution have triggered this situation, experts say.

"This scenario is likely to hold the locally generated crackers emissions within the NCT (National Capital Territory), slowing down the dispersion, resulting in increased levels of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution".

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) on Monday experienced the first smog of the season with air pollutants going up many folds higher than the permissible limits and the air quality falling under the "severe-plus" or "emergency" category.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research - commonly known as SAFAR - on Monday had said that Delhi's air quality is likely to deteriorate to the "severe-plus emergency" category after Diwali.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous. The AQI around Chandni Chowk recorded PM 10 levels at 437 and PM 2.5 at 425, while PM 1O levels were 396 and 470 around Airport Terminal 3 and Delhi University area, respectively. Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali, SAFAR said.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said biomass burning was also adding to the spike in the PM2.5 concentration in Delhi.

However, authorities fear that after the Diwali (Hindu festival of lights) celebrations, the air pollution in Delhi is expected to rise on Thursday.

The recommendation was made in view of the heavy pollution caused by such vehicles which might add to the woes of the national capital which is already battling alarming levels of pollution, another CPCB official said.

The pollution authority could also consider inducing artificial rain after Diwali to wash away hazardous pollutants.

Schoolchildren protest against rising air pollution levels in New Delhi on Tuesday.

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