Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Mumbai goes Delhi way, smog grips India’s financial capital

Mumbai goes Delhi way, smog grips India’s financial capital

On the day of Diwali, November 7, the concentration of PM 2.5 was 70µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) and PM 10 was 115µg/m3, both of which fell in the moderate category, said Dr Gufran Beig, project director of the System of Air Quality and weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The sharp spike in pollution on Thursday was caused by rampant burning of firecrackers that had led to the formation of a smoky layer across the national capital and drastically reduced visibility, authorities said.

Mumbai Mirror conducted a pollution test drive and joined volunteers of Aawaz Foundation to see how noisy the city was and Urban Sciences employee Naved Nakadar to check the air quality this Diwali.

Early morning ambient air quality readings in Delhi - the world's most polluted major city, according to the World Health Organisation - touched 526, according to the U.S. embassy in the city which independently monitors pollution levels.

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by global standards.

"Diwali is the only time when all relatives meet each other and burst crackers".

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While increasing air pollutants make it hard to breathe, pollution on Diwali would add to the woes of residents. Commuters and joggers faced discomfort following poor air quality in the morning.

The court also ruled that firecrackers could only be set off between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, but their bangs were still reverberating around city neighbourhoods well after midnight.

The Delhi police said it registered around 562 cases under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience of order) and arrested 310 people for violating the Supreme Court's order.

The pollution level rose at several places in two states on Thursday morning.

A source in the IITM said that though data for the entire year will have to be analysed, it seems that air quality in the city plunged to "very poor" on November 8 for the first time in 2018.

The court had requested that the police guarantee that restricted crackers were not sold and said in the event of any infringement, the station house officer (SHO) of the police headquarters concerned would be held by and by at risk and it would add up to submitting scorn of the court. In the next 24 hours, including Diwali night, the AQI crept up to 354. "This year, the air quality was much better", Punjab Pollution Control Board's Chief Environmental Engineer Karunesh Garg said. That would put the pollution above hazardous levels and pose a serious health risk to residents.

An aggressive 10-day-long Clean Air Campaign initiated by India's federal environment ministry began this month to monitor and report polluting activities and to ensure quick action.

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