Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Delhi panic over toxic air ahead of Indian festival Diwali

Delhi panic over toxic air ahead of Indian festival Diwali

Moreover, authorities said that due to pollutants caused by biomass burning in the adjoining regions of Delhi and unfavorable meteorological conditions, the air quality is likely to remain in the "very poor" category on Thursday and Friday. The Overall Air Quality index of Delhi-NCR was recorded at 368 which comes under the very poor category, as per a data by the Central Pollution Control Board.

The AQI was recorded at severe category of 434, the highest of the season, on Monday it said.

Assuming that only half of last year's amount of firecrackers are used, the lead pollutant PM2.5 - particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers - is expected to reach 575 a day after Diwali, the SAFAR report said.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.

Indication of this move were given by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) when it's chair Bhure Lal told the media that "recent forecast has shown air quality is set to worsen in the next few days and if it crosses severe levels, we will have to take the emergency steps".

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has maintained that stubble burning in Punjab was the main reason behind the current cycle of air pollution in Delhi.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said biomass burning is also contributing to the spike in PM2.5 concentration.

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Air quality in India's haze-hit north, including the capital, New Delhi, deteriorated sharply on Monday because of unfavorable weather and an increase in smoke from stubble burning in fields across the region.

Air quality will be "bad" on Thursday, 8 November - a day after Diwali - even if "partial toxic crackers" are used as compared to a year ago, SAFAR said.

"Most striking factor is that share of PM2.5 (relatively more harmful than coarser particles) in PM10 has already increased by 10-20 per cent due to fire emissions which further increased due to crackers as compared to normal days", an official said.

However, in Sethi colony, the PM2.5 level was 89 ug/m3 and at Shastri Nagar's CPCB air monitoring centre, the PM 2.5 level was recorded at 81 ug/m3.

The CPCB Tuesday held a meeting with transport authorities regarding this, Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary of the statutory organisation under the Environment Ministry, said. "We have shifted sports and cultural practices indoors as post Diwali the air quality usually dips", she said.

Metros across the world bear the major brunt of air pollution, likewise, Delhi is at the receiving end in India.

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