Hindu festival firecrackers spark toxic shroud
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.
A municipal worker with her daughter after sweeping the India Gate area as a thick pollution haze hangs over New Delhi.