New Delhi: Ahead of Diwali, the nation’s capital – New Delhi is chocking in its own mess. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s Air Quality Index score was 268 on Thursday, which falls in the ‘poor’ category. The city also saw one of the worst surges in the pollutant concentration in air during morning hours, with PM2.5, the most dangerous air particle crossing the 700 level in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar. And the continuous air quality deterioration over the years is due to many reasons – From exhaust fumes from capital’s one crore vehicles to construction dust, soot from the mass-burning of agricultural waste in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana, and emissions from factories. Now, if Delhiites choose to celebrate Diwali with crackers despite the ban on the sale of firecrackers then the city will suffocate in its own pollution.
Throwback: Delhi After Diwali Last Year
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, air quality in Delhi was in the “severe“ category in the festive season last year with an Air Quality Index of 443 on October 30 (Diwali day). The next day, it shot up to 472 with PM2.5 levels touching 302 micro grams per cubic metre – five times the safe standard and 624 (10 times the safe standard) on October 31.
The World Health Organisation has already labelled Delhi as one of the world’s most polluted city, all known as ‘a city with deadliest air’.
How Pollution Is Affecting Delhiites?
Breathing polluted air puts people at a higher risk for asthma and other respiratory diseases. People who live in polluted areas are at higher risk of Cancer. Not only that, high levels of particle pollution have also been associated with higher incidents of heart problems.
Going by U.S. standards, a level of more than 201 is classified as “very unhealthy,” and levels higher than 301 are considered “hazardous” to health. And Delhi is already falling under the ‘Very unhealthy’ category.
Amid the concerns of air pollution, a government meeting chaired by city Environment Minister Imran Hussain and attended by senior officers of the department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) was held in the capital recently. Wherein Mr Hussain asked for strict enforcement of directions of the Supreme Court regarding ban on sale of crackers, he has asked the Environment Department to constitute special teams to check on the sale of crackers in various markets in Delhi. He further added, any violation should be reported to the Delhi Police immediately.