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Delhi skies 50 shades of grey, AQI over 500

The national capital’s air quality index is in ‘severe’ zone post-Diwali; may not improve until Sunday evening

Sabrangindia 06 Nov 2021

Air QualityImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Once upon a time, November was one of the best months for those living in or visiting New Delhi. The air was cool, but not too cold, it was the festive season and the city was decked out in light. Once upon a time, seems to have been a long time ago.

Come November, those living in or visiting Delhi now start monitoring the Air Quality Index or AQI, a measurement to indicate how polluted the air is. In the past few days, the AQI in Delhi has been between 400-500 in most places. This is a “severe” quality and can impact even healthy people.

Right-wing groups, both online and off, have trolled those who said no to bursting crackers, on Diwali, and in ‘revenge’ as it were the city skies were all smoke and sparkle on the festival of lights a few days ago.

According to news reports, data released by the System of Air Quality & Weather Forecasting & Research (SAFAR) on Saturday stated that the AQI had “deteriorated by drastic levels following the festival” and has reached the ‘hazardous’ category. Thick grey smog is what the city skies are now made up of. While some people complain of inflamed eyes, or an irritated throat, almost a seasonal regular now, many who are in the vulnerable category have decided to stay indoors, with air filters running for those who can afford it.

Hindustan Times compiled an hour-by-hour account of how Delhi’s air quality tanked on Diwali, “with farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and the use of fireworks on Diwali night contributing to the spike”. According to the report, “Delhi air was cleaner on Diwali eve in 2021 than it was in 2019 and 2020. Things went downhill rapidly. At midnight on Diwali, the average PM 2.5 level in Delhi was 613.2 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than what it was at Diwali midnight in 2019 and 2020.” 

However, as the report stated, and residents of the city heard fireworks well past midnight “pollution levels kept rising” as well adding that “the average PM 2.5 level reached 729.6 micrograms per cubic meter between 3 A.M and 4 A.M hour on November 5, much higher than what it was during Diwali in 2019 and 2020 in pollution.”

Delhi Govt gets new anti smog guns

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai meanwhile has said, “Stubble burning instances have shot up from 1,000 last week to over 3,500,” and added that “BJP people deliberately” burst crackers thus “causing the pollution levels to become deadly.” Rai announced that “water sprinkling has begun on Delhi roads” and 20 big anti-smog guns will be installed at the intersections in Delhi with higher pollution levels. According to Rai, two reasons behind the smog now seen and felt, were incidents of stubble burning which have increased. “In the last week of October, incidents of stubble burning happened at 1,000 places. Today, NASA images have shown that stubble burning is happening at 3,500 places. What you see today is the impact of these 3,500 instances, instead of the previous 1,000,” he said. He added that on Diwali, “Some people instigated the bursting of crackers, which has led to an increase in the AQI level.”

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI “would not improve until Sunday November 7 evening”. And an “improvement” here means Delhi’s AQI will drop down to  the ‘Very Poor’ category.

Related:

Mass fish deaths in Airoli’s holding ponds!
Dilution of environmental laws, a persistent tactic: AIUFWP
UN resolution calls right to clean, healthy and sustainable environment a Human Right

 

Delhi skies 50 shades of grey, AQI over 500

The national capital’s air quality index is in ‘severe’ zone post-Diwali; may not improve until Sunday evening

Air QualityImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Once upon a time, November was one of the best months for those living in or visiting New Delhi. The air was cool, but not too cold, it was the festive season and the city was decked out in light. Once upon a time, seems to have been a long time ago.

Come November, those living in or visiting Delhi now start monitoring the Air Quality Index or AQI, a measurement to indicate how polluted the air is. In the past few days, the AQI in Delhi has been between 400-500 in most places. This is a “severe” quality and can impact even healthy people.

Right-wing groups, both online and off, have trolled those who said no to bursting crackers, on Diwali, and in ‘revenge’ as it were the city skies were all smoke and sparkle on the festival of lights a few days ago.

According to news reports, data released by the System of Air Quality & Weather Forecasting & Research (SAFAR) on Saturday stated that the AQI had “deteriorated by drastic levels following the festival” and has reached the ‘hazardous’ category. Thick grey smog is what the city skies are now made up of. While some people complain of inflamed eyes, or an irritated throat, almost a seasonal regular now, many who are in the vulnerable category have decided to stay indoors, with air filters running for those who can afford it.

Hindustan Times compiled an hour-by-hour account of how Delhi’s air quality tanked on Diwali, “with farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and the use of fireworks on Diwali night contributing to the spike”. According to the report, “Delhi air was cleaner on Diwali eve in 2021 than it was in 2019 and 2020. Things went downhill rapidly. At midnight on Diwali, the average PM 2.5 level in Delhi was 613.2 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than what it was at Diwali midnight in 2019 and 2020.” 

However, as the report stated, and residents of the city heard fireworks well past midnight “pollution levels kept rising” as well adding that “the average PM 2.5 level reached 729.6 micrograms per cubic meter between 3 A.M and 4 A.M hour on November 5, much higher than what it was during Diwali in 2019 and 2020 in pollution.”

Delhi Govt gets new anti smog guns

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai meanwhile has said, “Stubble burning instances have shot up from 1,000 last week to over 3,500,” and added that “BJP people deliberately” burst crackers thus “causing the pollution levels to become deadly.” Rai announced that “water sprinkling has begun on Delhi roads” and 20 big anti-smog guns will be installed at the intersections in Delhi with higher pollution levels. According to Rai, two reasons behind the smog now seen and felt, were incidents of stubble burning which have increased. “In the last week of October, incidents of stubble burning happened at 1,000 places. Today, NASA images have shown that stubble burning is happening at 3,500 places. What you see today is the impact of these 3,500 instances, instead of the previous 1,000,” he said. He added that on Diwali, “Some people instigated the bursting of crackers, which has led to an increase in the AQI level.”

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI “would not improve until Sunday November 7 evening”. And an “improvement” here means Delhi’s AQI will drop down to  the ‘Very Poor’ category.

Related:

Mass fish deaths in Airoli’s holding ponds!
Dilution of environmental laws, a persistent tactic: AIUFWP
UN resolution calls right to clean, healthy and sustainable environment a Human Right

 

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