Almost 50 Lakh Kg of Firecrackers Burst This Diwali in Delhi

Muriel Hammond
November 11, 2018

Despite the Supreme Courts directives, Delhi-NCR burst firecrackers on Diwali well past the 10 p.m. deadline that showed the AQI at a slightly improved level over previous year. It is poor when between 201 to 300 and very poor between 301 to 400.

Reports suggested that the worst AQI was recorded at Wazirpur's Delhi Institute of Tool Engineering.

According to media reports, the air pollution level entered "severe-plus emergency" category due to rampant bursting of toxic firecrackers.

Diwali is always one of the worst times of year for air quality, as firework smoke mixes with auto exhaust fumes, factory emissions and construction dust.

Delhiites woke up to severe air quality on Friday as average Air Quality Index (AQI) shot up was 427 at 1100 hours, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. It also stipulated that the fireworks could only be set off between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. - a ruling that appeared to go largely ignored. "The lungs are extremely vulnerable", he says, referring to the sweep of illnesses, from asthma to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to structural lung diseases and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, where the lungs become inflamed as an allergic reaction to inhaled dust, fungus, moulds or chemicals. The situation was similar in parts of the West Bengal capital Kolkata, which too recorded “very poor” AQI levels. Terming the WBPCB a "toothless tiger", environmentalist Subhas Dutta said the authorities should have been more careful in preventing illegal fireworks and crackers coming from the districts and flooding the city markets.

"Like previous years, after Diwali I have noticed an increase in number of patients complaining of breathlessness", said city-based physician Dr Diwakar Tejashwi. Smaller towns like Kota and Ajmer fared no better.

The concentration of PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm and 10mm, remained in "severe-plus" or "severe" levels. For Mumbaikars, it was a noisy Diwali this year.

A volunteer of the foundation, Sanjay Salunkhe said, "At some places, noise up to 114.1 dB was recorded".

Dahiya said that while Mumbai's proximity to the sea and favourable meteorological parameters ensure that the pollutants clear out quickly "even a few hours of exposure [to such high levels of PM 2.5] is enough to cause health problems". "They also think the pollution is high all the year round so one day of festivities is not going to make much of a difference", he said.

Legal action was taken against 24 juveniles under the provisions of the Juvenile Act for not abiding by the top court's direction, he said.

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