Festive firecrackers worsen Delhi's air quality to "severe emergency" category

Representative image

Representative image

Early morning ambient air quality readings in Delhi - the world's most polluted major city, according to the World Health Organisation - touched 526, according to the United States embassy in the city which independently monitors pollution levels.

The last time a western disturbance influenced the weather in the Capital, the AQI went from "very poor" to "moderate" on Sunday (November 4).

Hours after tens of thousands of people celebrated the Hindu Festival of Lights in News Delhi on Wednesday, a plume of toxic smog shrouded the city, turning day into dusk.

AQI is a pollutant measuring indicator. It is poor when between 201 to 300 and very poor between 301 to 400.

"Staff with young children are increasingly choosing not to come which wasn't the case a few years ago", a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.




Mumbai Mirror conducted a pollution test drive and joined volunteers of Aawaz Foundation to see how noisy the city was and Urban Sciences employee Naved Nakadar to check the air quality this Diwali.

"The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 8:30 am was recorded at 458, which falls under the "severe" category", said System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

"Winters have just started and Patna is witnessing an alarming air quality with three "very poor" and seven "poor" air quality level days in the past 10 days (October 25 to November 3)", said Ankita Jyoti, senior program officer, CEED. "But we can says the pollution level was 6.5 times higher in Delhi and NCR than the standard (60) category from Diwali night to Thursday morning", said the official. This utter disregard for the directive from the highest court of the land reflects a sorry state of affairs in a country that has already earned the dubious distinction of being among the world's worst polluted regions. Air is considered moderately polluted when AQI reading lies between 101 to 200.

The AQI entered in the severe category at 2 am after midnight on Thursday.

SAFAR's data showed that PM 2.5 level was more than eight times the permissible limit, while PM 10 was six times the permissible limit. Once the PM2.5 level crosses 80 or 100 [micrograms per cubic metre], it has a huge impact on health. SAFAR's forecast said it would rise to 245 µg/m3 on Thursday and drop to 190 µg/m3 by Friday. The concentration of PM2.5 in the air increased by 44 per cent compared to the day after Diwali a year ago (see chart). Though several laws are in place to check pollution and courts have been repeatedly intervening in the matter, the situation on the ground remains alarming.

Recommended News

  • Danny Welbeck: Arsenal say forward has 'significant' ankle injury

    Danny Welbeck: Arsenal say forward has 'significant' ankle injury

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan was singled out by a number of supporters as one of those that deserved criticism for his display in the game. It would have been frustrating as an Arsenal fan, however, I'm sure they'll realise just how good the opposition was.
    Nasa to retire its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope

    Nasa to retire its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope

    Back in 2009, the Kepler telescope was the first NASA mission to find planets outside of our solar system, at the size of Earth. Kepler was originally positioned to watch 150,000 stars in a patch of sky within the constellation Cygnus.
    Oprah Winfrey Responds to 'Racist Robocalls' Targeting Stacey Abrams in Georgia

    Oprah Winfrey Responds to 'Racist Robocalls' Targeting Stacey Abrams in Georgia

    A report from the Inspector General of DHS released in July 2017, concluded that allegations were unsubstantiated. In a statement on Sunday, Kemp's office said they had officially requested the FBI to investigate the matter.
  • Jim Acosta is No Martyr to Journalism

    Jim Acosta is No Martyr to Journalism

    He started off his exchange with the president by saying that he will "challenge" Trump on his description of the migrant caravan. Alcindor in a tweet came to Phillip's and Ryan's defense, calling Phillip "a smart, professional, and hardworking journalist".
    Harvard Researchers: Space Object Was Alien Spacecraft

    Harvard Researchers: Space Object Was Alien Spacecraft

    Now, a paper from Harvard astronomers suggests one more possibility into the mysterious object nicknamed "Oumuamua": Alien probe . There are probably "thousands of interstellar 'Oumuamua-like" objects "trapped" somewhere in the solar system, they wrote.
    Kawhi Leonard misses another prime-time matchup

    Kawhi Leonard misses another prime-time matchup

    Though the final scoreline saw the Raptors win by just 14 points, the Lakers never really threatened to win the game. Leonard could decline his 2019-20 player option and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.
  • Melbourne attack: Police link fatal stabbing, vehicle fire to terrorism

    Melbourne attack: Police link fatal stabbing, vehicle fire to terrorism

    Forensic investigators combed through the scene late Friday, where the dead victim's body lay covered in a white plastic sheet. The video shows the man attempting to slash police officers with a large knife before falling to the ground.
    Fly Jamaica flight OJ256 overruns runway at Georgetown Airport

    Fly Jamaica flight OJ256 overruns runway at Georgetown Airport

    A Trinidadian was among the 118 aboard a Fly Jamaica aircraft that crash landed in Guyana on Friday morning . The Boeing 757, carrying 126 people, including two infants, returned after experiencing hydraulic problems.
    Authorities: Gunman wounds 11 people at California bar

    Authorities: Gunman wounds 11 people at California bar

    Video accessed by the AP showed law enforcement officers and vehicles speeding to the scene and people running from the bar. He is survived by a wife and son. "Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant, he was totally committed".
  • The Queen extends rare invite to Meghan Markle's mother

    The Queen extends rare invite to Meghan Markle's mother

    At the time, the former Suits star had just become engaged to Prince Harry , and wouldn't tie the knot for another five months. To disobey the Queen decided Kate Middleton, who is secretly preparing a surprise party for a pregnant wife of Prince Harry .
    El Chapo trial expected to open in NY

    El Chapo trial expected to open in NY

    Guzman escaped prison twice in Mexico, once in a laundry basket in 2001 after running the cartel from a cell for seven years. The logistical problem for his keepers: The case is being prosecuted across the East River in federal court in Brooklyn.
    Polls closing as voters pit Trump strength, Dems' resistance

    Polls closing as voters pit Trump strength, Dems' resistance

    Trump is stressing Senate contests like Indiana's after sending signals that maintaining the House may be out of reach. At a rally in West Virginia Friday a defiant Trump brushed off the prospect of a Democratic House takeover.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.