Diwali firecrackers see Indian air pollution soar

Celebrating crowds ignored calls to limit the use of fireworks and bangers, resulting in ‘hazardous’ air conditions

By Jonny Bairstow

This year’s Diwali celebrations saw Delhi’s National Capital Region enveloped in harmful smog as the widespread use of firecrackers caused air quality to plunge to ‘hazardous’ levels.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), despite the Supreme Court limiting firecracker use on Diwali from 8pm to 10pm, crowds continued to set them off until late at night,
exposing people to major health risks.

The air quality was rated at 302 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 11pm, which is categorised as ‘very poor’ – people may suffer from respiratory illnesses as a result of prolonged exposure to such air.

If the air quality dips further, the AQI can reach ‘severe’ levels, which can harm healthy people and seriously affect those with existing ailments.

Before Diwali, the Supreme Court had ordered that sustainable, low-smoke crackers, which produce less light, sound and harmful chemicals, can be sold in the National Capital Region.

Legal air pollution limits have been reached for the year in London less than a month into 2018.

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