Delhi-NCR air turns 'hazardous' as SC's firecracker order goes up in flames

A thick haze engulfed ITO (New Delhi) on Diwali day.
A thick haze engulfed the national capital on Thursday morning, with the air quality deteriorating to 'hazardous' category as Delhiites continued to burst firecrackers long after the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

On Thursday morning, Anand Vihar recorded the overall Air Quality Index AQI at 999 (hazardous) with PM2.5 level at 999 and PM10 level at 999. AQI in several parts of the Delhi and its nearby areas was similar.

The air quality started deteriorating rapidly from 7 pm on Wednesday. The AQI was 281 at 7 pm. It rose to 291 at 8 pm and further deteriorated to 294 at 9 pm and 296 at 10 pm, according to the CPCB.

The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals. It had also allowed the manufacture and sale of only "green crackers", which have a low light and sound emission and less harmful chemicals.

The court had asked the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and said in case of any violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of court.

But despite the apex court order, there were reports of its violation from many areas long after 10 pm.

Several areas showed a spike in air pollution. Areas like Anand Vihar, ITO and Jahangirpuri recorded very high pollution levels.

Violations of the Supreme Court order were reported from Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka, Noida Sector 78 among other places.

The police admitted that there were violations, adding that they would take serious legal action against those violating the apex court order.

The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city indicated "poor" and "very poor" air quality as the volume of ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 8 pm.

Here's how it can affect you:

A level of 50 or less is considered healthy.

The current levels indicate that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses. These indices measure the concentration of tiny poisonous particulate matter.

A high level of tiny particulate matter can lodge deep into the lungs and cause major health problems. In recent weeks Delhi doctors have reported an increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems due to a rise in pollution levels from burning crop residue, vehicle exhausts and industrial gases.

Each year, smoke from festival firecrackers significantly adds to pollution levels in Delhi and its satellite cities, resulting a haze that can linger for days as wind speeds drop in the cooler weather.

For a second successive year, New Delhi's chief minister has likened the city to a "gas chamber". Around this time last year, he declared a public health crisis, shutting down schools for a week and told residents to remain indoors.

People have burnt crackers freely day and night, no police petroling, no FIRs. They have made our honourable SC's verdict a joke. #DelhiChokes #PollutionFreeDiwali#DelhiPollution

— Pradeep Singh (@mepsrajput) November 8, 2018

This is not good.#DelhiChokes

There was nothing heroic abt not accepting #SupremeCourt verdict.This is what has resulted. #Diwali celebration #Delhi .

— vijitashwa Mishra (@VijitashwaMisra) November 8, 2018

#Delhi did it again! Some places this morning have recorded 999AQI and thats like breathing death. Hope the violators are now breathing easy #DelhiPollution #DelhiChokes

— kishalay b (@kishalay) November 8, 2018

1am and still loud crackers are bursting around.

SC is like a joke to this Delhites.. choke you all ignorant brainless morons #CrackerBan #DelhiPollution #DelhiChokes

— Moses Muansang (@MosesMuansang) November 7, 2018

By burning crackers way beyond the stipulated timeline, guess we as Delhites certainly lost Right to complain about rising pollution levels. And certainly can't blame the authorities for inactions when citizens themselves have shown brazen contempt of court. #sad #DelhiChokes

— Manav Saneja (@manavsaneja) November 8, 2018

Delhi celebrated Diwali as if citizens don't need to breath tomorrow.

Citizens need to take as much responsibility as Govt.#DelhiAirPollution @ArvindKejriwal @narendramodi

— Sandip Chakraborty (@Sandip0803) November 7, 2018

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