The national capital echoed with loud explosions of crackers on Sunday night. The festival of Diwali was celebrated in such enthusiasm that on Monday, the streets of Delhi were still hungover with the smoke from last night. A day after the festival of lights and crackers, Delhi witnessed a considerable drop in its air quality as pollution levels went up to alarmingly high levels.
According to the air quality monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board, PM 2.5 in Delhi went up to 999 in the US Embassy area and 702 in Anand Vihar. In R K Puram, PM 2.5 went up to 643 micrograms which is almost ten times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metres and PM 10 stood at 999 micrograms per cubic metres which is also way more than the safe limit of 100 micrograms.
While a thick smog has enveloped the city, areas such as Anand Vihar, Chanakyapuri, Punjabi Bagh were some of the most polluted spots in the capital. In Anand Vihar, PM10 was at its peak at 3.30am at over 1,680µg/m³ while PM2.5 touched 883µg/m³ at 2.30am. In Punjabi Bagh, PM2.5 was at its peak at 2am and was recorded at 678µg/m³, while PM10 was recorded as 1,560µg/m³, highest at 10.30pm, reports HT.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research’s (SAFAR) monitoring stations at Pusa Road, Mathura Road, Dhirpur, Delhi University, Pitampura as well as neighbouring Noida had air quality in the ‘severe’ zone. | In PHOTOS: Pollution in Delhi after Diwali: This is what the ‘smog enveloped’ national capital looks like today morning
Even days before Diwali, Delhi recorded levels of tiny, lung-clogging particulate matter known as PM 2.5 were considered dangerous. On Friday, PM 2.5 levels were well above 300 micrograms per cubic meter- more than 30 times higher than the WHO recommendation of no more than 10 mcg per cubic meter. The prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM10 are 60 and 100 respectively, and anything beyond these is perceived as harmful for the respiratory system. Below is a compilation of pollution levels in various parts of Delhi:
SAFAR on Monday declared the air quality of Delhi as ‘severe’ while that of Mumbai’s is seen to better than the national capital. On Sunday night, by 8 PM, Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) Punjabi Bagh and Anand Vihar stations had PM 2.5 readings of 202 and 240 micrograms per cubic metre respectively, while PM 10 had risen to 429 and 766 micrograms per cubic metre.
Ahead of Diwali, Anand Vihar continued to record PM 10 levels nine times above the safe limit in real-time at 913 micrograms per cubic metre at 12 PM. According to SAFAR’s special Diwali forecast, pollution during this year’s Diwali was expected to be worse than those during 2014 and 2015 due to a combination of adverse meteorological factors like slow wind speed and moisture in the air, a major hindrance in the dispersion of suspended pollutants.
Moreover, a new report from UNICEF says most of the 2 billion children in the world who are breathing toxic air live in northern India and neighbouring countries, risking serious health effects including damage to their lungs, brains and other organs. Of that global total, 300 million kids are exposed to pollution levels more than six times higher that standards set by the World Health Organization, including 220 million in South Asia.