Delhi, the Indian capital city, which was already facing a severe crisis of air pollution over the past couple of weeks, recorded its worst air quality of the year on Thursday morning, after the Diwali festival night when revelers burst toxic firecrackers. There was anguish and searching questions on the yawning gap between the law and its enforcement as the sun struggled to shine through murky skies, particularly in the Delhi-NCR region, which recorded its worst air quality of the year. Above 500 is "severe-plus emergency" category. "The AQI index increased because of bursting of firecrackers", a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) official told IANS requesting anonymity.
Twenty eight areas in Delhi recorded "severe" air quality, while four areas recorded "very poor" air quality, according to the data of the CPCB.
After the Diwali festival, levels of airborne PM 10 and PM 2.5 touched 470 and 322 respectively, up from 438 and 180 in 2018, the Central Pollution Control Board said in a bulletin.
But despite the order, certain places recorded violations where firecrackers were burnt before and after the set time frame.
Meanwhile, curbs on pollution in Delhi continued, with the Traffic Police stopping trucks from entering the Capital, on orders of the Transport Department, said sources. As per the order, the apex court gave a time limit of two hours but that did not restrict people as nearly 50 lakh kilograms of firecrackers were burst in Delhi, as per a report. It had also allowed the manufacture and sale of only "green crackers", which have a low light and sound emission and less harmful chemicals.
It had said that in case of any violation, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station of the area would be held personally liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court.
The police admitted there were violations, and that they would take serious legal action against firecracker sellers.
The indices mostly measure the concentration of tiny poisonous particulate matter, or PM 2.5, particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can be carried deep into the lungs.
"In this season, when everybody is talking of bringing ordinances on a variety of issues, why can't politicians join hands and bring an ordinance to ban stubble burning?" he asked. The number of calls was the highest since 2007, the DFS said. At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the AQI was 283 making it "poor". "We request our lawmakers to support our executive and all three arms of our democracy to work together to protect citizens health at this time of national health emergency", said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, co-founder, Care for Air NGO.