Day After Diwali, Delhi's Air Quality is 11 Times the Permissible Limit

A thick haze engulfed ITO on Diwali day

The air quality began to deteriorate from 7 pm on Diwali evening.

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring areas of Delhi such as Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual, raising question marks on the efficacy of the administration in enforcing the top court's ban. The US Embassy in the Delhi - which according to the World Health Organization is the most polluted city on Earth - said its readings touched 526.

The Supreme Court had earlier allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8pm to 10pm only on Diwali in the Delhi-NCR and the sale of "green crackers" by the licensed vendors but the ruling was smoked up in the air by the Delhiites.

With levels of air pollution classed as "hazardous", the restriction on the almost 40,000 medium and heavy lorries that enter Delhi every day was imposed late Thursday.

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh: The monitoring centre at Talkatora District Industrial Centre in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh recorded literally the worst air in India this morning with an Air Quality Index score of 430 - categorised as "Severe".

The overall AQI was 10 times the permissible limit.

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The concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 had increased from 50 per cent to 70 per cent last night, indicating an increased share of locally-generated firecracker emissions, SAFAR said.

The capital city was followed by Kolkata with recording the same AQI.

A "severe plus emergency" AQI essentially means that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses 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. In case of a violation, the station house officer of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of the court, the court had said.

On Wednesday night Delhites largely defied a court order and set off an enormous barrage of smoke-spewing firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali, sending pollution levels soaring.

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