Firework smog chokes Delhi as India celebrates Diwali

Pablo Tucker
November 10, 2018

The Supreme Court ruled last month that only environmentally friendly crackers - that emit less smoke and soot - can be sold in Delhi, in a bid to cut the smog that has scarred the city's global reputation. Readings above 500 in the index, which measures poisonous gases and toxic particulate matter in the air, are typically associated with serious aggravation of the heart and lungs. The period following Diwali previous year saw hospitals inundatedwith people suffering the effects of air pollution.

The National Air Quality Index has dropped a Diwali bomb on Kolkata - air quality in the city over two festive nights was the worst among the metros. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research said the PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels were also in the severe category.

"The AAP government is indifferent towards steps that need to be taken to make Delhi's air clean".

"The Supreme Court order on fireworks was not followed and health warnings from the government were limited to few newspapers and some websites", said Greenpeace campaigner Sunil Dahiya. "However, air quality is recovering from the afternoon and is likely to touch "very poor" range by night provided no additional local emissions are added anymore", it said in its report earlier Thursday. The AQI rose from 281 at 7 pm to 291 an hour later and by 10 pm, it was 296, said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to a SAFAR advisory.

On Thursday, the PM2.5 level was recorded at 492 gm-3, more than eight times the permissable limit.

The report on the widespread burning of firecrackers comes even as the Supreme Court has fixed a two-hour time period, from 8 pm to 10 pm, for bursting of crackers on Diwali and other festivals.

The top court had directed the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and in case of violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the area would be held responsible.

Violations of the Supreme Court order were reported from Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka, Noida Sector 78 among other places.

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