AQI peaks after Diwali as SC order goes up in smoke

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"The overall air quality index of Delhi has improved and is likely to go back to "very poor" range against all odds and averse weather conditions", Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said.

"A smoke layer was formed over Delhi and the National Capital Region after 1 a.m. bringing down inversion layer and trapping pollutants rapidly", it said. Saturday could see severe pollution levels continue, SAFAR said.

Two days after Diwali, the air quality across NCR remains in the severe category with an average AQI reading of 466 for PM 10 as well as PM 2.5 levels.

The water sprinkling drive will carry on for the next few days as part of anti-pollution measures. the official said.

That is the same amount of firecrackers burst a year ago, equating 1,50,000 kg of PM2.5 mass (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres).

The PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) level was recorded at six times the permissable limit at 618 µgm-3, according to the SAFAR.

The capital's citizens on Thursday struggled to breathe better air as pollution levels spiked across the city after Diwali, touching the "very poor" category. Once the PM2.5 level crosses 80 or 100 [micrograms per cubic metre], it has a huge impact on health.

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The court also ruled that firecrackers could only be set off between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, but their bangs were still reverberating around city neighbourhoods well after midnight.

Two of the federal government's indices showed pollution levels at "very poor" and "severe", indicating that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses.

Neither is it in the BJP's interests, or in the interest of the main opposition Congress party, to help Kejriwal's New Delhi government. The top court also allowed manufacture and sale of just "green crackers" which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals.

In its October 25 order, the apex court sought to strike a fine balance between the urgent imperatives of public health and the rights of the manufacturers of the Rs 20,000-crore firecracker industry.

However, violations were reported from across Delhi, including areas like Anand Vihar, ITO, Jahangirpuri Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP Extension and Dwarka.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer admitted that it was very hard to implement the Supreme Court order.

"We have asked all police stations to follow the Supreme Court's guidelines on bursting firecrackers and to ensure action against those violating it", Mumbai Police spokesperson Manjunath Singe said.