NEW DELHI: Although the immediate effect of bursting firecrackers is difficult to quantify, but this Diwali the national capital once again observed a thick blanket of smoke on Friday.
With the air quality reaching between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ categories, as per the data of the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) was an average of particulate matter (PM)2.5 in the air was 407 and PM10 -595 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) which puts the air in the ‘severe’ category. The safe limits for both the matters are 60 and 100, respectively. The data analysed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of the 16 Ambient Air Quality Monitors the average Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi constituting both the particulate matters was at 378 which comes under the ‘very poor’ category.
Although in comparison the festival was much cleaner this year but the particulate matter reached the harmful levels post midnight, in the morning a heavy blanket of smog was witnessed in different parts of the city. The worst air quality was observed at the Anand Vihar , ISBT which was at 463 AQI, the area falls on the border of Delhi- Ghaziabad.
Last year at the same time the PM10 on an average ranged from 448 (ug/m3) to 939 (ug/m3) and the PM 2.5 ranged from (180 ug/m3) to 440 (ug/m3).
The data released by the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi’s biggest hospital dealing with respiratory diseases stated that 15 cases of burn injuries during last night were reported, of which 10 were adults.
Meanwhile, the NCR towns like Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad where the cracking bursting did contribute to the average AQI of the Delhi being higher. In such a situation the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) has recommended- hiking of car fee and stringent enforcement of dust control in construction sites as the prime measures to better the air quality.
However, if one goes by SAFAR's forecast, the air will not be as poor within three days time. It said a host of favourable meteorological conditions were helping prevent smoke-filled air from the agricultural belt of Haryana and Punjab from entering the national capital.