Despite the Central Pollution Control Board’s claims that Delhi’s air quality was better after Diwali celebrations this year compared to 2016, real-time data shows a different picture.
The pollution in several areas of the city has surpassed normal levels, dashing the hopes of many after the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers during Diwali celebrations in Delhi and the National Capital Region till November 1.
Concentrations of PM 2.5 and PM 10 (particulate matters that are 10 or less than 10 and 2.5 or less than 2.5 micrometres in diametre) rose alarmingly. Levels of PM 2.5 have grown more than PM 10, Outlook reported. At India Gate, the PM 2.5 level was 911 microns at 6 am, alarmingly higher than the standard of 60 microns.
Data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee showed that at 8 am, PM 2.5 in RK Puram had reached 925 microns, while the standard is 60 microns. The air quality index, at 326, was “very poor”. It was “severe” at Anand Vihar, with an air quality index of 403 and PM 2.5 levels at 416 microns.
Till 4 pm on Thursday, the Central Pollution Control Board air quality index ranked Delhi’s level as “very poor” at 322. In 2016, the city’s air quality levels were “severe” with an index value recording of 431. The alarming smog after Diwali celebrations in Delhi-NCR last year had forced schools to remain closed for three days and the National Green Tribunal to declare an environmental emergency in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court-appointed body, the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority, banned diesel generators in Delhi after the air quality in the Capital entered the “red zone”. The Badarpur power plant was also shut down, and hundreds of brick kilns were also ordered to stop production.