The air quality in Delhi has worsened despite the Supreme Court’s temporary ban on the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region.
On Thursday morning, the Air Quality Index in Anand Vihar and Punjabi Bagh had reached hazardous levels, ANI reported. In RK Puram, it entered the very unhealthy category.
On October 9, the Supreme Court had said it wanted to assess the difference in air quality in the highly polluted region after the firecracker ban. In 2016, the alarming smog after Diwali celebrations in Delhi-NCR had forced schools to remain closed for three days, and the National Green Tribunal had declared an environmental emergency in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court-appointed body, the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority, on Tuesday banned diesel generators in Delhi after the air quality entered the “Red Zone”. The Badarpur power plant was also shut down, and hundreds of brick kilns were also ordered to stop production.
On the first day of Diwali festivities, the air quality in other cities also deteriorated.
Mumbai woke up to smog on Thursday. The Air Quality Index had dropped from satisfactory on Wednesday morning to “moderate” by the evening, The Indian Express reported. The System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research, or Safar, had warned that it may worsen further after Diwali celebrations.
“The haze in the city could be because of the moisture in the atmosphere,” the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said, adding that it was because of crackers.
In Kolkata, pollution levels rose even before Kali Puja and are only expected to further increase, The Times of India reported. Many burst firecrackers early because of fears that it would rain on the day of Kali Puja and dampen festivities.
On Wednesday, air quality in Punjab hovered close to the “very poor” mark. The average Air Quality Index, as measured by the Punjab Pollution Control Board, was nearly three times the permissible limit, the Hindustan Times reported. Experts attributed this not only to pre-Diwali firecrackers, but also to crop residue burning.