Delhi residents’ Diwali festivities took a somber turn Wednesday morning when they awoke to find themselves enveloped in a thick layer of murky smoke. Concerning reports have surfaced since yesterday, indicating that the city’s air quality index (AQI) soared past the “very poor” and “severe” ratings, landing squarely on the hazardous side in numerous districts, including Anand Vihar (849), Pusa Road (970), and India Gate (999). We cannot, however, claim that the authorities were blind to this.
This time of year, Delhi’s air quality is bad due to the blazing stubble of the neighboring states. The city becomes a genuine gas chamber when Diwali is added to this deadly concoction. And this year was no exception.
Residents of Delhi enjoyed comparatively clear skies and lower air pollution levels on Saturday and most of Sunday after sporadic rains and favorable breezes cleaned the city of toxins on Friday. In fact, the national capital’s Diwali day air quality index on Sunday was at its highest level in eight years, with a 24-hour average of 218 at approximately 4 PM. But relief did not last long.
Anticipating the increase in air pollution, the Supreme Court determined that it was imperative to impose a prohibition on the production, storage, and distribution of fireworks within the city prior to the significant celebration. However, it appears that some found it difficult to abide by the order, as evidenced by the late-night cracker-popping on Sunday.
After locals disregarded the prohibition on firecrackers on Diwali night, hourly PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels skyrocketed beyond 1000 in places like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and RK Puram between 11 PM and 4 AM. The national capital’s AQI, according to SAFAR, was 445 at 11:30 AM today, which is still severe but better than it was in the early morning.
In this context, an air quality index of 0–50 is regarded as “good,” 51–100 as “satisfactory,” 101–200 as “moderate,” 201–300 as “poor,” 301–400 as “very poor,” and 401–500 as “severe.”
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended level for PM 2.5 particle concentration was exceeded by 20 times between Sunday night and Monday morning, according to the air quality index data. Consequently, physicians anticipate that inhabitants of Delhi may experience eye discomfort and sore throats due to the firecracker smoke that is still present in the air.
Delhi residents are urged to minimize the effects of air pollution by avoiding outdoor physical activity and ceasing all activity if they experience unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or weariness. It is required that windows be kept closed and that nothing be burned, including incense, candles, or wood. If one goes out, N-95 masks or P-100 respirators might be useful.