Science

Supreme Court ban on firecrackers goes up in smoke

Supreme Court ban on firecrackers goes up in smoke

A thick haze engulfed the national capital on Thursday morning, with the air quality deteriorating to "hazardous" category as Delhiites continued to burst firecrackers long after the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Delhi's air quality typically worsens in winter, due to pollution from the burning of rice stubble, diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions. Violations were also recorded in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other major cities.

A "severe plus emergency" AQI essentially means that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to a SAFAR advisory.

A new SAFAR report said the severe conditions would prevail for the next two days. It is likely to remain in the "severe" category on Friday and Saturday as the smoke emitted by firecrackers has slowed down the process of pollutant dispersion, a report by government-run agency SAFAR said Thursday. The government has said that the authorities are taking measures to curb the air pollution levels including banning trucks from entering the national capital till December.

The Supreme Court had earlier allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8pm to 10pm only on Diwali in the Delhi-NCR and the sale of "green crackers" by the licensed vendors but the ruling was smoked up in the air by the Delhiites.

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The MeT department said mist and smog cover was reported at all three airports of the city with the lowest visibility of 400-700m recorded between 7 am and 9 am.

On Wednesday night Delhites largely defied a court order and set off an enormous barrage of smoke-spewing firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali, sending pollution levels soaring.

After the Diwali festival, levels of airborne PM 10 and PM 2.5 touched 470 and 322 respectively, up from 438 and 180 in 2018, the Central Pollution Control Board said in a bulletin.

However, violations were reported from across Delhi, including areas like Anand Vihar, ITO, Jahangirpuri Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP Extension and Dwarka.

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