A day after Diwali celebrations, pollution levels in Delhi-NCR surged massively. On Sunday, the air quality remained at 'severe level', recording an average Air Quality Index of 468. An AQI between 401-500 falls in the 'severe' category while reading between 0-50 is considered 'good'.
Nearly all areas in the city recorded PM2.5 levels above 400, with several regions nearing the alarming 500-mark, reported NDTV. On Diwali night, the AQI for PM2.5 had surpassed 800 in some parts.
The national capital witnessed a thick blanket of smog early this morning, majorly due to firecracker emissions that worsened the air quality that is already deteriorated across the national capital.
Pollution levels at surrounding regions, including Noida were already high due to stubble burning activities. However, the situation turned worse as the city saw many people defying the firecracker ban.
According to the report, in Noida and Greater Noida, where the National Green Tribunal had imposed a ban on firecrackers, the Police arrested five people for the illegal sale of fireworks. Separate first information reports have been lodged over these incidents under provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.
Earlier this month, a bench led by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel clarified that the direction would apply to all cities and towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November 2019 was in "poor" and above categories.
Not only the residents are witnessing the worst air pollution in years, but the surge also has a direct impact on COVID-19 patients. According to the Reuters report, the tiny PM2.5 particles can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.
Dr R.V. Asokan, secretary-general of the Indian Medical Association told the media how air pollution made people more susceptible to coronavirus infection. "The PM2.5 particles break the nasal passage barrier, weaken the inner lining of lungs, facilitating the spread of the coronavirus infection,"
Amid the pandemic, rise in pollution level has made Delhi the worse-off. In the same regard, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to meet Home Minister Amit Shah soon.