NEW DELHI: The capital witnessed the cleanest post-Diwali morning this year since 2016 even though the average Air Quality Index (AQI) kept hovering between the range of the “very poor” category on the day of Diwali and a day before the festival.
The data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded the AQI index reading of 303 on Tuesday, the morning after Diwali. According to the data sourced from CPCB, mornings post-Diwali celebration have mostly measured deterioration of the ambient air to a “severe” level.
The AQI after Diwali in 2016 was recorded at 445 which was measured to 403 the next year. A bit improved AQI was recorded in 2018 with a reading of 390. In 2019, the reading was 368 which plummeted to 435 in 2020 and deteriorated further to an all-time high of 462 last year despite the Covid-led decline in pollution levels.
Delhi government announced a blanket ban on the sale, purchase, and distribution of firecrackers this year on Diwali. While many argued the move led to the decline in air quality deterioration this year, experts suggested that better wind speed on the festival day apart from a number of climatic conditions factored into the play.
“The occurrence of early Diwali ensured also played a factor. The day was bright and allowed more sunshine while lesser moisture in the air which trap the pollutants ensured the lesser possibility of fog and smog the following morning,” a senior official from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said.
However, it’s no call for celebration as the city’s residents continue to breathe toxic air, the DPCC official said. Meanwhile, Environment Minister Gopal Rai thanked the people of Delhi for celebrating the festival “thoughtfully.”
"People of Delhi were very thoughtful on Diwali this year and I want to thank them. Today, the pollution level is the lowest in five years," the minister said while launching 150 mobile anti-smog guns that will be deployed at 40 spots across the capital where air pollution is high.
However, Delhi Police recorded more than 200 fire and emergency-related calls this year on Diwali which is around 30% higher than in 2021 when green crackers were allowed to burst for a limited window.