With several warnings issued by the NGT and state government proving futile in stopping people from bursting firecrackers, the fate of Delhi's air quality is now resting on the weather conditions which are fortunately stacked in the city's favour.
The average 24-hour AQI at 4 pm on Saturday was 171 in Faridabad, 204 in Gurgaon, 233 in Noida, 226 in Greater Noida and 240 in Ghaziabad.
Despite the ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the use of firecrackers during Diwali celebrations, the flouting of the ban by Delhi residents on Saturday led to a sudden spike in the worsening of Air Quality Index in the national capital. Like every successive year, the AQI took a spike for the worse and reached the severe level at several prominent areas of the city including ITO area and Anand Vihar area where the AQI of 461 and 478 were recorded, the Indian Express reported.
The thick layer of smog engulfed the city starting from the Saturday night and has even substantially reduced the visibility today morning making it difficult for the vehicles plying on the roads. With several warnings issued by the NGT and state government proving futile in stopping people from bursting firecrackers, the fate of Delhi’s air quality is now resting on the weather conditions which are fortunately stacked in the city’s favour. According to the forecast announced by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), light precipitation during the later part of Sunday might dampen the thick layer of smog and improve the quality of air in the city. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the light showers in the city in the later part of the day might be caused due to the western disturbances in the weather of North India.
However, SAFAR also added that the impact of rainfall will be limited and the AQI might only shift from the severe category to the Very poor category and any large scale improvement in the Delhi’s air quality remains unlikely. In addition to the ITO area and Anand Vihar region which recorded the highest degradation of the air quality, several other prominent areas of the city registered a sharp dip in the AQI index including 500 in Jahangirpuri, 475 in Patparganj, 450 in Lodhi Road, 491 in Ashok Vihar, and 442 in the IGI airport area.
Despite promises of foolproof cracker ban in the national capital and regions around its vicinity, the ban was openly flouted in several areas in different cities. In addition to the complete ban on the use of firecrackers in the NCR region, the NGT had also said that the cities registering bad air quality will automatically come under the firecrackers ban but visuals of heavy bursting of firecrackers were reported on Saturday. Several cities such as Kanpur, Varanasi witnessed heavy bursting of firecrackers on the occasion with lots of firecrackers waste visible on the streets on Sunday. The AQI in Kanpur’s Nehru Nagar area was recorded at 328 which comes under the very poor category.