Hindu fes­ti­val fire­crack­ers spark toxic shroud

The West Australian - - WORLD -

Toxic smog shrouded the In­dian cap­i­tal as air qual­ity reached haz­ardous lev­els af­ter tens of thou­sands of peo­ple set off fire­crack­ers to cel­e­brate the ma­jor Hindu fes­ti­val of Di­wali.

More than 300 peo­ple were ar­rested in In­dia’s cap­i­tal and 200 in Kolkata for flout­ing a Supreme Court or­der al­low­ing only “green fire­crack­ers” to be launched and for only two hours in the evening.

Com­muters wore masks and gog­gles yes­ter­day as vis­i­bil­ity on ma­jor roads plunged to less than 100m.

The Gov­ern­ment blamed the toxic air on farm­ers burn­ing stub­ble in their fields to pre­pare for win­ter sow­ing and the fire­works used to mark the Hindu fes­ti­val. Mon­i­tors that mea­sure fine pol­lu­tants — small enough to pen­e­trate the lungs — hit dan­ger­ously high read­ings of more than 1500.

The “safe” limit for pol­lu­tants is 25, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Pic­ture: AP

A mu­nic­i­pal worker with her daugh­ter af­ter sweep­ing the In­dia Gate area as a thick pol­lu­tion haze hangs over New Delhi.

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