On Monday, the morning after Diwali celebrations, Delhi woke to a smoggy morning with PM 2.5 levels shooting up to 30 times over the permissible hourly standards for the ultrafine particle, with the spike in its concentration between midnight and 2 AM which is further expected to push Delhi’s air quality to ‘very poor’.
This was also seen as a failure for the Supreme Court and the local municipalities as the firecracker ban was greeted with a bang by residents in NCR, openly defying the ban put during Diwali. A reason for such defiance can be said to be the policy of the ban on firecrackers being put only during Diwali and not on other days of the year. This has not resonated with people who in masses spoke out against the order, dubbing it discriminatory against Hindus and Hindu festivals.
Delhi’s 24-hour average AQI was recorded at 275 (poor) at 7 AM this morning which is a rise from Sunday’s 4 PM average reading of 218 (poor). The AQI has been gradually increasing since Sunday evening after people started bursting firecrackers, defying the orders. The 24-hour rolling average was 225 (poor) at 9 PM, 240 (poor) at midnight and 261 (poor) at 5 AM.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data showed that the city’s hourly PM 2.5 concentration was recorded as high as 1,856 micrograms per cubic metre at east Delhi’s Patparganj at around 31 times the national 24-hour PM 2.5 standard of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. This was followed by an hourly peak of 1,792 micrograms per cubic metre at Jahangirpuri (11 PM) and 1,785 micrograms per cubic metre at Nehru Nagar. Data showed most stations recorded their peak PM 2.5 levels around 1 AM, with levels gradually dipping 2 AM onwards.
Forecasts by the India Meteorological Department said that “Winds are expected to be around 4-6 km/hr during the day on both Monday and Tuesday. The wind direction is expected to be northwesterly during this period.”
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