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Pollution Spikes After Diwali: Fireworks Order Backfires?

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The Supreme Court's order on using green firecrackers on Diwali, and that too only between 8 and 10 pm, went up in smoke last night. From Delhi to Mumbai, people openly defied the top court, bursting crackers way beyond the 10 pm deadline and bursting the same, polluting high emission ones. The problem is, that while the court ordered only the use of low emission crackers, those don't exist yet in the market. So those people who did use crackers last night, would have used the old high emission ones, flouting the court order. This morning, Delhi's air quality was at 'hazardous' or the highest 'severe plus emergency' in several places - the worst air quality recorded in the national capital this year. This means that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses. The US embassy tweeted that the air quality levels in Delhi had soared to 526 at 6 a.m. That would put the pollution above hazardous levels and pose a serious health risk to residents. A level of 50 or less is considered healthy. The deadliest, most poisonous particulate matter out there, PM 2.5, spiked to 3200 micrograms/cubic m in Delhi's Jahangirpuri - a staggering 128 times the WHO's safe or healthy limit of 25. What happened last night shows that implementing the court order on the ground was a disaster.


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