As the Diwali evening progressed, celebrations seemed pretty low-key this year. There were only faint sounds of crackers bursting and fireworks. Air pollution levels also seemed to be under control. For quite some time it appeared as if the Supreme Court's ban on sale of crackers was showing its impact. However, what appeared to be a quieter Diwali only a few hours ago soon changed with the incessant bursting of crackers. Rapid deterioration of the air quality started from roughly around 7 pm and reports mention that the online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations showed Delhi suffering 'very poor' air quality on Diwali night.
A 'very poor' air quality index (AQI) essentially means that people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on a prolonged exposure to such air. If the air quality deteriorates further, even healthy people with no respiratory conditions are going to be affected.
A report in India Today mentions that the air quality did eventually dip, with some places recording a hike of air pollution by 24 times. By 6 am today areas like India Gate witnessed a spike of PM level 2.5 by 15 times, whereas RK Puram and Ashoka Vihar witnessed a hike by 13 and 14 times respectively. PM2.5 or Particulate Matter 2.5 is a fine particle that can enter our lungs and can even cause cancer.
The report mentioned that PM10 had risen in Anand Vihar by 24 times at 6 am today. The normal range for PM10 is 100 microns, which had touched 2402 microns in this part of the city. RK Puram recorded a spike of 11 times, while India Gate saw a rise by 10 times.
Although, the AQI this year has been 'very poor', a notch down from last year's 'severe', the data on how Delhi fared this Diwali will be released today evening by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). AQI level from 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and 401 and above is considered severe.
(With agency inputs)