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Alarming! Delhi air pollution 42 times higher post Diwali

By Newsd
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 23: People bursting crackers as they celebrate the Diwali, the festival of Light, on October 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with traditional fervour across the country with people exchanging sweets and gifts with friends and relatives. Children and youths burst crackers and lit sparklers while families, dressed up in their best outfits, visited their neighbours, exchanged 'Happy Diwali' greetings and sweets. Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya from his exile after vanquishing demon-king Ravana. (Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Air quality in Delhi worsens alarmingly on Diwali night as pollution levels hiked as much as 42 times higher than the normal in one of the most polluted spots of the Capital city.

On Monday morning, people woke up to smog with visibility up to 200 metres.

According to real time air quality data of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, PM 10 (Particulate Matter 10) went up by over 42 times on Sunday from the national ambiance air quality standard at Delhi’s RK Puram. At 10 55 pm, PM10 was recorded at 4,273 µg/m³ while the permissible level is 100µg/m³

Experts said the levels beyond 100µg/m³ can cause harm to the respiratory system as the ultra fine particulates can embed themselves deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

The pollution rate at Delhi’s most polluted Anand Vihar is at its peak-PM 10 was over 1,680µg/m³. Data from the Hindustan Times air quality map showed the air quality index touched the maximum limit of 500 in almost all monitoring spots in the city as fireworks and crackers induced smoke as part of Diwali chocked the city.

The Delhi government on Saturday had reviewed the ambient air quality in the capital. “Agricultural fires in fields of neighbouring states, particularly Punjab and Haryana, are a major contributor in the deterioration of ambient air quality, which will also suffer due to inversion and calm meteorological conditions (that are) currently prevailing,” said the government’s official statement.

Current Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi is 757. Air pollution is classified severe if the AQI is between 401 and 500. China declares a red alert if air quality deteriorates to this level.