City records worst air quality of year, 10 times permissible limit.
NEW DELHI: Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped the national capital on Thursday as it recorded its worst air quality of the year, with the pollution level entering “severe-plus emergency” category or 10 times the permissible limit due to rampant bursting of toxic firecrackers in gross violation of a Supreme Court order.
In gross violation of the Supreme Court order, people in several areas of Delhi burst firecrackers until at least midnight, two hours after the 10 pm deadline. Partly as a result of smoke from the firecrackers, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi remained above 500 throughout the day and jumped to 642 around 5 pm which falls in the “severe-plus emergency” category, according to data by the Centre-run Safar (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research).
The overall AQI was 10 times the permissible limit. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good’, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. AQI above 500 falls in the “severe-plus emergency” category.
A “severe plus emergency” AQI essentially means that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to the advisory issued by Safar.
Delhi’s air quality is expected to remain in this category over the next two days as the smoke emitted by fire crackers has slowed down the process of pollutant dispersion, the agency said.
The contribution 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, the Safar said. The overall AQI of the city was 11 times the permissible limit.