Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

More than 300 arrested as New Delhi plunged into toxic Diwali smog

Delhi air quality shoots to 'hazardous' category as residents flout Diwali firecracker curbs Delhi gasps for breath after Diwali firework frenzy
Sandra Phillips | 10 November, 2018, 04:25

However, reports have claimed that Delhi is not the most polluted city in the country.

The index measures air quality taking into account particulate matter - PM 2.5, or very fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, and PM 10 which are less than 10 micrometers in diameter - as well as other pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide.

According to the autonomous meteorological body set up under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, SAFAR, the overall Air Quality Index of Delhi at 8:15 am was recorded at 428, which falls under the "hazardous" category. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) reported a 24-hr average PM2.5 level at 450 microgram/m3 at 5 PM on Thursday for Delhi.

Delhi's air quality typically worsens in winter, due to pollution from the burning of rice stubble, diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.

The Supreme Court had instructed that only "green" fireworks be burst between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali.

After the Diwali festival, levels of airborne PM 10 and PM 2.5 touched 470 and 322 respectively, up from 438 and 180 in 2018, the Central Pollution Control Board said in a bulletin.

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The capital city was followed by Kolkata with recording the same AQI. The PM10 level was six times the permissable limit at 618 gm-3, according to SAFAR.

The Delhi Police arrested 310 people on Diwali night on Wednesday for allegedly violating a Supreme Court order on bursting firecrackers within a certain time-frame, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. Any reading between 301 and 400 is "very poor" and can cause "respiratory illness on prolonged exposure".

Accusing the AAP of doing politics on the serious issue of air pollution, the Delhi BJP Friday demanded its government to bring a "white paper" on steps it has taken to address the recurring problem and asked if it would announce a ban on cracker bursting.

The court had said police should ensure that there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the Station House Officer of the area police station would be held liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court.

The areas where the violations were recorded included Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens' Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka and Noida Sector 78.

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