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10 November 2018, 05:09 | Darnell Patrick
For representational purposes
Each year, smoke from festival firecrackers significantly adds to pollution levels in Delhi and its satellite cities, resulting a haze that can linger for days as wind speeds drop in the cooler weather.
The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali. Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Gurugram, and Patna recorded "severe" air pollution with AQIs hovering well above 400 on Thursday night.
Early morning ambient air quality readings in Delhi - the world's most polluted major city, according to the World Health Organisation - touched 526, according to the USA embassy in the city which independently monitors pollution levels.
Several areas showed a spike in air pollution. Air quality monitoring stations at CRRI Mathura Road, Nehru Nagar and Okhla Phase-2 were the worst-affected localities with AQI of over 450.
On Thursday, the PM2.5 level was recorded at 492 gm-3, more than eight times the permissable limit.
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A volunteer of the foundation, Sanjay Salunkhe said, "At some places, noise up to 114.1 dB was recorded".
Experts believe that not only the burning of crackers has been responsible for the deteriorating air quality but replacement of moderate winds with light and calm winds, low temperatures, increased humidity levels are also contributing in increasing the toxicity in the air by a considerable figure. New Delhi topped the chart with air quality index (AQI) recorded at 420.
The Supreme Court order should have come earlier. "This is why, the day after Diwali, medical experts nearly always see a spike in respiratory disorders". "Air pollution is still on the higher side, but it could have been worse had we not imposed these measures", said an EPCA member. "Wearing a mask, using air filters and staying indoors may help to some extent, but the only solution is to reduce pollution at the source".
Government agencies such as SAFAR had predicted Delhi could encounter severe levels of pollution from November 8 even if 50% of the firecrackers as compared to 2017 were burst this year.
-- Dangers of PM 2.5PM2.5 refers to fi ne particulate matter, particles of which are two and a half microns or less in diameter, and can thus penetrate the lung barrier and enter the blood stream.
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