Air quality dips in Indian capital after Diwali despite firecracker ban

New Delhi, Oct 25 (EFE).- Air quality in New Delhi was “very poor” on Tuesday, a day after the Indian festival of Diwali, despite measures by the authorities to prevent the burning of firecrackers and check the surge in pollutants in the atmosphere.

According to the city’s authorities monitoring air pollution, the concentration of PM2.5 – particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns – reached 151 micrograms per cubic meter, a posing a significant health risk to the residents of the Indian capital.

A sharp increase in air pollution levels in New Delhi is common after Diwali, caused by the use of fireworks during the holidays, which, together with other factors associated with climate and agricultural practices, leads to weeks of toxic haze in the region.

However, Tuesday’s data reflect an improvement for the day after Diwali compared to previous years, when air quality monitors reached their maximum measuring capacity of 999 particles per cubic meter as firecrackers continued to burn throughout the night.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) of the Indian government, the city’s air quality on Tuesday was “very poor,” slightly better than previous years.

The Indian capital exceeded the World Health Organization’s annual air quality reference value by 23.6 times, making it the second most polluted capital in the world after Islamabad, according to IQair, a Swiss platform that measures air quality in real time.

According to the WHO index, New Delhi measures 180 on a scale of 1 to 500, and considered “unhealthy,” behind the Pakistani capital which measures an average of 187.

SAFAR predicts a marginal improvement in air quality in the region over the next three days.

Apart from firecrackers on the night of Diwali, other factors that contribute to the deterioration of air quality in the Indian capital, which is among the most polluted in the world, are coal burning, toxic gases generated by the construction sector, emission from private vehicles, and biomass burning in rural areas along with lower temperatures at this time of the year. EFE


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