In a grim turn of events, the air quality in Delhi and its neighboring cities has surged to hazardous levels just a day after Diwali. Despite a ban on firecrackers across the National Capital Region (NCR), the widespread violation of this restriction has given rise to serious environmental concerns.
On Monday morning, real-time air monitoring platforms reported alarming figures, with the air quality index (AQI) skyrocketing above 500. Some areas recorded exceptionally high levels, reaching as much as 900. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium registered an AQI of 910, Lajpat Nagar at 959, and Karol Bagh at 779 around 6 am, as per data from aqi.in.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the average AQI at most locations was around 300. The concentration of PM2.5 pollutants surpassed 500 in various parts of the city throughout the day.
The Air Quality Index serves as a crucial indicator of air pollution levels. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good,’ 51 to 100 ‘satisfactory,’ 101 to 200 ‘moderate,’ 201 to 300 ‘poor,’ 301 to 400 ‘very poor,’ 401 to 450 ‘severe,’ and anything above 450 falls under the category of ‘severe plus.’
Last week, the Supreme Court emphasized that its ban on firecrackers extends to every state, not solely confined to the Delhi-NCR region. In a ruling in September, the court had upheld the Delhi government’s ban on firecrackers, underscoring the importance of prioritizing public health.
Remarkably, Delhi experienced its best Diwali day air quality in eight years on Sunday, with an AQI of 218 at 4 pm. The clear skies and abundant sunshine marked a significant improvement, attributed in part to recent rains that contributed to alleviating the severely toxic air.
The current surge in air pollution post-Diwali serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for stringent enforcement of environmental regulations to safeguard public health and mitigate the adverse impact on the ecosystem.