Di­wali fire­works choke Delhi

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

An­gry res­i­dents of the In­dian cap­i­tal, Delhi, are shar­ing im­ages of smog, one day af­ter Di­wali cel­e­bra­tions saw huge quan­ti­ties of fire­works set off.

Lev­els of pol­lu­tants in the air were 30 times the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s rec­om­mended level in one neigh­bour­hood.

Au­thor­i­ties had warned that Delhi faced a pol­luted Di­wali be­cause of fac­tors like hu­mid­ity and wind speed.

Di­wali, the most im­por­tant Hindu fes­ti­val in north In­dia, cel­e­brates the vic­tory of good over evil.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, vis­i­bil­ity across the city was ex­tremely low, thanks to a thick blan­ket of smog cov­er­ing the city. Res­i­dents were ad­vised to stay in­doors.

Lev­els of tiny par­tic­u­late mat­ter (known as PM 2.5) that reaches deep into the lungs more than dou­bled within a few hours on Mon­day to 750 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre in the worst af­fected parts, In­dia’s Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board said

That is 30 times a mean guide­line set by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion of 25 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre on av­er­age over a 24-hour pe­riod.

The US em­bassy in Delhi said its air pol­lu­tion in­dex late on Sun­day had breached the “haz­ardous” up­per limit level of 500, at which it stops measuring lev­els of par­tic­u­late mat­ter.

Gufran Beig, chief sci­en­tist at In­dia’s state-run Sys­tem of Air Qual­ity Weather Fore­cast­ing and Re­search, told AFP news agency: “Al­most 60-70% of the smoke came from the firecrackers.”

Safar said there was a “se­ri­ous risk” of res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems for peo­ple liv­ing in Delhi and ad­vised against phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

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