Diwali Smog Chokes Delhi As City Struggles To Breathe


Air pollution levels in Delhi have been graded as ‘severe’ on Monday morning. Image source: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/Flickr
Highlights
  1. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) showed air pollution at ‘severe’ levels on Monday morning.
  2. The agency has advised people to avoid all outdoor physical activity, remain indoors and keep activity levels low.
  3. Citizens groups have been working to educate people to avoid bursting crackers in order to limit air pollution in the city.
  4. Exposure to PM 10 & 2.5 particles can cause shortness of breath and aggravate conditions like bronchitis and asthma.

DELHI: Post-Diwali and people in the national capital are struggling to breathe with air pollution levels being graded as ‘severe’ on Monday morning.

Data recorded by the centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) showed concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 at over 1,600 micrograms per cubic meter compared to a safe level of 100 at around 2 am in Delhi's Anand Vihar. Even levels of PM 2.5 particles were over 14 times the safe limit.

The agency has advised people to avoid all outdoor physical activity, while asking old people and chidlren to remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Social media is already abuzz with posts complaining about low visibility on roads, and the effects of breathing in Delhi air.

Delhi has always had a bad record when it comes to air pollution, with debris from construction material, emissions from polluting industries and vehicular traffic routinely taking air pollution levels into the danger zone. Many experts had warned that this would only worsen as the city celebrated Diwali over the weekend with air-polluting crackers and other fireworks.

In the run-up to Diwali, there has been heated debate among citizens on the need to curtail the use of crackers and use less-polluting ways to celebrate the festival. Several citizens groups have been working on campaigns to educate people to avoid bursting crackers in order to limit the level of air pollution in the city, but is seems to have had no effect.

Exposure to PM 10 & 2.5 particles can have severe effects on health, causing shortness of breath, while aggravating conditions like bronchitis and asthma.

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