CHOKED!

Pol­lu­tion spikes in Delhi Di­wali fire­work frenzy as SC or­ders are flouted

Mail Today - - NEWS - By Mail To­day Bu­reau in New Delhi

A FREN­ZIED Di­wali night of fire­works turned Delhi’s pol­lu­tion more toxic on Thurs­day de­spite a pre­emp­tive Supreme Court ban late last month to save the air qual­ity from more de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

The air qual­ity wors­ened through the day and went off the charts by the evening as the city recorded its worst pol­lu­tion of the year the morn­ing af­ter the fes­ti­val.

The court had re­stricted fire­works to two hours — 8-10 pm — and or­dered use of cleaner green fire­crack­ers. But Delhi failed spec­tac­u­larly in pre­vent­ing the air qual­ity from spi­ralling into the most dan­ger­ous cat­e­gory.

There were no “green” fire­works avail­able for sale and rev­ellers let off fire­works long into the night.

The air qual­ity in­dex (AQI) showed se­vere-plus emer­gency pol­lu­tion lev­els as loud bangs rent the air in Delhi.

Partly as a re­sult of smoke from fire­crack­ers, the AQI in Delhi jumped to 642, ac­cord­ing to data by the Cen­tre-run SAFAR (Sys­tem of Air Qual­ity and Weather Fore­cast­ing And Re­search).

Early morn­ing at 1 am, smoke lay­ers be­came thick and started to trap pol­lu­tants near the sur­face rapidly. How­ever, air qual­ity re­cov­ered by af­ter­noon and be­came ‘very poor’ with no ad­di­tional lo­cal emis­sions added. It set­tled at an AQI of 390, as per the CPCB (Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board).

The con­tri­bu­tion of PM2.5 and PM10 had in­creased from 50 per cent to 70 per cent on Wed­nes­day night, in­di­cat­ing an in­creased share of lo­cally gen­er­ated fire­cracker emis­sions, SAFAR said.

On Thurs­day, the PM2.5 (par­ti­cles in the air with a di­am­e­ter of less than 2.5 mi­crome­tres) level was recorded at 492 gm-3, more than eight times the per­mis­si­ble limit. The PM10 (par­ti­cles in the air with a di­am­e­ter of less than 10 mi­crome­tres) level was recorded at six times the per­miss­able limit at 618 ug/m3, ac­cord­ing to the SAFAR. In­dia’s of­fi­cial per­mis­si­ble PM2.5 limit is 60 ug/m3, while that of PM10 is 100 ug/m3. Ul­tra fine par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tants PM2.5 and PM10 in the air pose health haz­ards as they can en­ter the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem and reach the blood­stream.

Vi­o­la­tions were also recorded in Mum­bai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other ma­jor cities.

(With in­puts from Ab­hishek Anand/In­dia To­day TV)

The top court had re­stricted fire­works to two hours — 8-10 pm — and or­dered use of cleaner, ‘green’ fire­crack­ers in Delhi-NCR.

HARDIK CHHABRA

The five gov­ern­ment hospi­tals — Saf­dar­jung, Ram Manohar Lo­hia (RML), Guru Teg Ba­hadur (GTB), Deen Dayal Upad­hyay (DDU) and Lok Nayak (LN) — re­ported most burn in­juries and fire­crack­er­re­lated ac­ci­dents.

K ASIF

There were no ‘green’ crack­ers avail­able for sale and rev­ellers let off fire­works long into the night.

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