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Asia Pacific> Asia News> Content
Monday, October 28, 2019, 16:33
Diwali fireworks haze destroys Indian capital's air quality
By Reuters
Monday, October 28, 2019, 16:33 By Reuters

A commuter waits for transport on a road enveloped by smog early morning in New Delhi, India, Jan 1, 2019. (MANISH SWARUP / AP)

NEW DELHI — Air pollution in some parts of the Indian capital deteriorated early on Oct 28, 2019 to the worst recorded level, officials said, a day after revelers set off fireworks to mark Diwali in celebrations that were more subdued than in previous years.

The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, touched 500 in several parts of Delhi, including the international airport, in the early hours of Monday

The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, touched 500 in several parts of Delhi, including the international airport, in the early hours of Monday, the maximum recorded by the government’s Central Pollution Control Board.

Anything above 401 is classified as “severe”. Air pollution at that level can seriously affect those with existing respiratory illnesses, and even those who are healthy.

ALSO READ: China sets air quality target for Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region

The levels have remained above 300 since early Monday morning, or “very poor”, which can cause respiratory illness after prolonged exposure.

Residents woke up to a pall of grey left behind by acrid smoke from fireworks that remained trapped in the city’s cool air.

The overall air quality index across the city, however, was at its lowest in three years due to favorable wind speeds and some reduction in the use of fireworks during Diwali, according to SAFAR, a government-run monitor.

PM 2.5, or tiny particulate matter that is less than 2.5 microns in diameter, are considered particularly dangerous because they lodge deep in the lungs. PM 10 is another pollutant that is inhaled when people breathe through their mouths.

READ MORE: India unveils ambitious plan to reduce air pollution

The Supreme Court had ordered residents to only use safe and environmentally friendly fireworks for a maximum of two hours, and only in designated areas such as parks, but the law was violated in several parts of the city, residents said.

“Delhi does it again!! Now let’s all inhale the poisonous gases and tell each other how wonderful our Diwali was,” said Twitter user Divya Sharma.

Delhi will restrict the use of private vehicles on the capital’s roads under an “odd-even” scheme based on vehicle number plates from next week.

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