Delhi’s Air Quality Dips with Each Passing Day, AQI Touches ‘Severe’ Levels Even Before Diwali

Delhi’s air quality continued to deteriorate on Tuesday as the air quality slipped to the severe category. On Monday, the pollution levels touched the poor category, just three days after the city recorded its first good air quality day this year.

The AQI of Anand Vihar reached 418 on Tuesday. It has been inching closer toward worse level with each passing day. It was 182 at 4 pm on Monday and 119 on Sunday, 70 on Saturday and 47 on Friday.

The poor air quality adversely affects healthy people and impacts those with existing diseases. Prolonged exposure to the polluted air in the national capital might cause breathing discomfort, lung problems, asthma and heart diseases.

Ban on Firecrackers

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has ordered a complete ban on the production, sale and use of all types of firecrackers in the national capital till January 1. An official said the ban comes into effect immediately.

The AAP government in Delhi has been following the practice of banning firecrackers in the winters for the last two years. The early announcement of the ban this year is likely to give ample time to the city administration and police to put in place a mechanism to check the illegal manufacturing, sale and use of firecrackers.

Diwali Ahead

Diwali, which is a festive time for Indians across the country, turns gloomy for the people in the national capital as a grey toxic smog fills its air dipping the air quality to hazardous levels.

Last year in November, Delhi woke up to grey skies as air quality dipped to hazardous levels with AQI above 500 after Diwali.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

The worsening poor levels in Delhi was despite a ban on fire crackers. Experts allude the pollution problem to the biomass burning, vehicular pollution and other reasons apart from firecrackers. The poor quality can be understood from the fact that the concentration of PM2.5 – dangerous tiny pollutants in the air – stood at 999 per cubic metre, which is the maximum reading post-Diwali.

‘Winter is Coming’

Winter is the cruellest season in Delhi. Not just for its biting cold, but also for the ‘severe’ air days. Despite emergency measures taken to tackle pollution, the situation in Delhi last winter remained grim.

From October 2021 to January 2022, Delhi recorded 19 days when the AQI was in the ‘severe’ category (readings between 401 and 500). However, it isn’t about last year’s winter alone. In the last two winters before 2021 too, the capital recorded 19 days when the air quality was in the ‘severe’ category. In 2018, 21 ‘severe’ air days were recorded from October 2018 to January 2019.

So, this year, the air quality isn’t expected to surprise the people in the capital as the data showed consecutive winters with poor air quality.

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