Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped Delhi-NCR as the air quality Thursday morning plunged to "hazardous" - Anand Vihar and areas around Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium recorded 999 AQI and Chanakyapuri 459 - exposing people to major health risks. This new rule will remain in effect till November 11. It has also asked private diesel vehicle owners to avoid using their vehicles during this period.
On Wednesday night Delhites largely defied a court order and set off an enormous barrage of smoke-spewing firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali, sending pollution levels soaring. Over 250 cases of burn injuries were reported by various hospitals in the national capital this Diwali.
The Delhi police said it has registered over 550 cases and arrested more than 300 people for violating the court's order.
The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) responded to over 300 calls on fire incidents triggered by firecrackers and LPG cylinder blast, among others, on Diwali night in Delhi, including an incident in which two children lost their lives and two others were injured.
Authorities in the previous years have rationed private auto use and imposed shutdowns on industrial units and coal-run power plants, as well as taxes on lorries to discourage them from using Delhi as a transit route.
Partly as a result of smoke from firecrackers, the AQI in Delhi jumped to 642, according to data by the Centre-run SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research).
"The Delhi Air Quality Index is 500+ at present".
Delhi´s air quality typically worsens in winter, as clouds of smoke from farmers´ fires billow into the city and mix with industrial and traffic emissions to form a noxious cocktail.
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.
On Thursday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 492 gm-3, more than eight times the permissible limit. India's official permissible PM2.5 limit is 60 µgm-3 while PM10 level is 100 µgm-3.
According to a report of the Central Pollution Control Board, Kolkata's average AQI (air quality index) from 4pm on Tuesday, 6 November, till 4pm on Wednesday, 7 November, was 326. The air quality index (AQI) showed severe-plus emergency pollution levels as loud bangs rent the air in Delhi.