The Indian capital woke up to a gray fog. Air quality has dropped to a dangerous level after Diwali, the festival of lights. Despite the ban on firecrackers, people were bursting them all over Delhi till late at night. This made the level of pollution even worse, the BBC website wrote.
Delhi has been battling bad air for weeks, with the government declaring early winter vacations for schools in an effort to protect children. Due to vehicular and industrial emissions, dust and weather conditions, Delhi is the most polluted capital city in the world.
The problem worsens in winter also because farmers in neighboring states burn waste in their fields. And fireworks during the Diváli holiday make air quality even worse, as low wind speeds trap pollutants in the lower layers of the atmosphere.
Many locations recorded particulate matter readings between 445 and 520. According to the air quality index, or AQI, a value between zero and 50 is considered “good”, between 51 and 100 as “satisfactory” and above 400 as “severe”.
According to government air quality monitors, the concentration of solid dust particles (PM 2.5 – particles smaller than 2.5 micrograms) has reached extreme values in some parts of the city. In Delhi at times you really couldn’t see a step.
A thick layer of toxic foam has once again covered parts of the Yamuna River near Delhi, as the Indian capital itself struggles with irritating and noxious smog that has enveloped the city.
India’s Supreme Court banned the use of firecrackers during Diwali, allowing only “green firecrackers” or those with reduced emissions. The government there has also banned the sale and setting off of firecrackers and fireworks to curb pollution levels. However, this did not deter the townspeople too much.
The ban on fireworks also took on a political tone. On Monday, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai he declaredthat leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — which is in power nationally but is in opposition in Delhi — had “incited” people to light firecrackers.
“Burning of firecrackers has increased the pollution level in Delhi. In some places it was done purposefully,” Rai said.
Leader of Opposition BJP in Delhi Virendraa Sachdeva he objected, that the pollution is not caused by the common people who celebrated the festival of lights, but by the ruling AAP party. According to him, the management does not have a concrete plan to solve the smog issue.