‘Post-Diwali, fireworks could propel air quality levels back to severe’

08 November, 2018, 07:05 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • Pollution,Ghaziabad city,air quality index

Despite the Supreme Courts directives, people in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday continued to burst crackers on Diwali well past the 10 p.m. deadline though the air quality index (AQI) showed a slight improvement over previous year. Authorities have warned of a spike in the pollution levels after Diwali on Wednesday even if "partially toxic crackers" are burnt compared to a year ago.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain today appealed to people to help in reducing local sources of pollution by celebrating a cracker-free Diwali.

"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".

However, smoke from fireworks would get trapped, forcing levels of particles in the air to become significantly higher in the morning, taking air quality to the "severe" category. An AQI level between 0-50 is categorised as "good" while 51-100 is "satisfactory" and 101-200, 201-300 and 301-400 is in the "moderate", "poor" and "very poor" category respectively.

A day ahead of Diwali, air quality in New Delhi and the surrounding areas has deteriorated despite the measures that have been taken to curb the rising pollution.

Central Pollution Control Board Member Secretary Prashant Gargava on Tuesday said the board has advised transport authorities to prohibit heavy vehicles from entering the city from November 8 to November 10.

As per the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali.

On Wednesday, PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of lesser than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 134, while PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) level was recorded at 276 in Delhi.

The contribution of stubble burning to pollution levels has decreased from 33% to 9% and is expected to decline further because of sufficiently high wind speed, the report highlighted.

CPCB officials also said they were in talks with IIT, Kanpur, and IMD for inducing artificial rain after Diwali. An IIT Kanpur professor said weather conditions were being monitored to become favourable for creating artificial rains.

Shamika Ravi, a members of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, tweeted today: 'Haven't heard a single firecracker in Delhi, yet the air purifiers are blazing red - showing risky levels of pollution.

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