Ban on heavy, medium goods vehicles in Delhi from 11 pm tonight

Guwahati People busy buying green crackers for Diwali in Guwahati on Nov 7 2018

Guwahati People busy buying green crackers for Diwali in Guwahati on Nov 7 2018

The manufacture and sale of "green crackers" with a low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals was allowed.

Dashing hopes of a cracker-free festivities, Delhiites chose to celebrate a noisy and hazy Diwali Wednesday with people in many areas bursting fire crackers beyond the 8 pm to 10 pm time frame stipulated by the Supreme Court.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), weather forecasting body under Ministry of Earth Science, said the moisture in the air on Wednesday was normal, thus reducing the air holding capacity. This means that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses.

KSPCB Chairman Lakshman said the dip in pollution levels from past year signify growing awareness of green Diwali celebrations. The air quality level is recorded in six categories - good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor and severe. Above 500 is "severe-plus emergency" category. Delhi was at the sixth position with 143 PM 2.5.

Other north Indian cities also recorded major pollution episodes. The largest decrease was recorded in their monitoring station at NIMHANS where AQI of 83 was recorded, a significant drop from162 recorded previous year. Sharma wondered how people failed to understand the repercussions of their actions.

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The AQI in many parts of Punjab after Diwali normally used to be beyond 300, Garg said, adding that the apex court order has helped a lot in creating awareness about disadvantages of bursting firecrackers. The dystopian scenario was replicated elsewhere.

Though some firecrackers went off from 5 p.m., the frequency rapidly went up as the sun set. Despite the ban, firecrackers were burnt in huge numbers, leading to a thick blanket of smoke, which drastically reduced visibility. "This smoke is bad for people suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and particularly bad for children", Dr S K Katiyar, respiratory diseases specialist, told PTI. The AQI was hazardous also in Satyawati and Anand Vihar.

"We were issued directions to curb noise and air pollution during the Diwali festival". This utter disregard for the directive from the highest court of the land reflects a sorry state of affairs in a country that has already earned the dubious distinction of being among the world's worst polluted regions. The desert state of Rajasthan faced a similar situation.

The test results released by the state pollution control board were equally scary. Smaller towns like Kota and Ajmer fared no better.

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by worldwide standards.

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