India wakes up wrapped in blanket of smoke after Diwali

New Delhi, Nov 5 (EFE).- Several regions of India woke up Friday to a thick smog with levels of air pollution considered “dangerous” due to the burning of firecrackers overnight on the occasion of Diwali, the country’s popular festival of lights.

Early Friday, New Delhi recorded concentrations of PM10 – particles smaller than 10 microns – and PM2.5 – smaller than 2,5 microns and the most dangerous to humans – several times higher than what is considered “toxic” by the World Health Organization, according to India’s leading environmental watchdog, SAFAR.

In the southern part of the city, both PM10 and PM2.5 values, with only three-digit meters, reached their maximum of 999 particles per cubic meter almost throughout the night, when the burning of firecrackers was still underway in the Indian capital.

Although the concentration of particulate matter fell moderately from 7am, their levels in New Delhi remained above what is considered harmful to health.

The situation this morning was similar in several regions of northern India, with air quality levels either “very poor” or “dangerous”.

According to the WHO, concentrations of PM10 particles above 100 are dangerous for risk groups, while that above 300 is considered toxic to humans.

The Indian authorities once again this year banned the sale and use of firecrackers to prevent an escalation of air pollution and keeping in mind the pandemic situation.

However, the booming sounds of firecrackers could be heard until well past dawn in cities like New Delhi.

Although the Asian nation has recorded its lowest figures since the start of the pandemic, with just over 12,700 cases and 221 deaths in the last 24 hours, the festive season poses a threat due to the traditional family gatherings and overcrowded markets.

Moreover, several studies have linked air pollution to increased risk of death in Covid-19 cases. EFE


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