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Delhi-NCR Grapples with Severe Air Pollution After Diwali Celebrations

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The morning after Diwali, Delhi-NCR witnessed a thick toxic haze, attributed to the rampant bursting of crackers in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ban. The smog engulfed Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, and nearby areas, exacerbating the already critical air quality situation.

Supreme Court’s Order Extends Nationally

While the air quality index (AQI) improved in the days leading up to Diwali, the Supreme Court clarified that its ban on certain chemicals in firecrackers extended beyond the NCR to the entire country. This clarification aimed to curb the use of harmful substances in fireworks nationwide.

Rapid Deterioration of Air Quality

Despite a brief respite on Diwali day, the air quality quickly deteriorated post-celebrations. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reported alarming levels of PM2.5, exceeding World Health Organization limits by 20 times. The government responded by ordering the closure of primary classes and restricting truck entry into the city.

Delhi Tops Global Pollution Charts

According to Swiss group IQAir, Delhi claimed the unenviable title of the world’s most polluted city on the day after Diwali. The AQI reached hazardous levels, particularly in areas like Anand Vihar, recording an alarming AQI of 969 at 5 am.

Different areas within Delhi-NCR experienced varying degrees of pollution. While Noida and Gurugram reported poor to very poor AQI levels, some localities recorded hazardous conditions. The concentration of PM2.5 remained a significant concern across the region.

Government Measures and Public Response

In response to the escalating pollution crisis, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government imposed a complete ban on firecrackers. Considering unconventional solutions, the government even explored the possibility of ‘artificial rain’ to mitigate air pollution. However, a sudden natural rainfall brought temporary relief.

Comparing Diwali air quality over the past years, the article provides a historical perspective. Despite efforts to control pollution, the data from CPCB indicates a recurring pattern of worsening air quality during the festive season.

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