With increasing air pollution, the Delhi government has on Saturday warned its residents to stay indoors and not to burst any crackers on the festival day of Diwali. As per the official data, the Air quality index of Delhi on Saturday was reported as ‘severe’.
This is the first time that the Air quality index was recorded as severe in entire Delhi. The PM 2.5 average in most parts of the state stood at 250 micrograms per cubic meters, four times more than the national safe standards average and ten times the World Health Organization’s safe cut-offs. Also, the PM 10 average stood at 543 which is five times the national safe standards average.
The Delhi government has on October 28 released a satellite photograph blaming the farm stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab as the main cause for deteriorating atmospheric conditions in Delhi. “This is really painful. As you can see in the NASA’s satellite image, the crops in Haryana and Punjab are on fire. The smoke released from these fields are what causing the Delhi’s Air quality to deteriorate”, said Imran Hussain, Delhi’s Environment Minister.
“Now the decision is with the citizens. We advise them to refrain from coming out of their houses in the current situation. We urge the residents to not to burst any crackers, as we all know what happens next given the condition that prevails in Delhi today”, he added.
The Indian Meteorological Department’s survey said that the Air quality in Delhi was severe due to the low-speed winds. In some places, the fine particulate pollutants have settled very close to the ground with the winds not moving at a normal speed.
The IMD has also issued a safety warning for the citizens in Delhi to refrain from going out for a prolonged time. Patients suffering from pulmonary and cardiac disease were advised not to get out of their homes.
On the other hand, Clean Air activists in Delhi demanded the government to ban bursting of crackers on Diwali and declare it a health hazard. However, the legality of such impositions by a government will only be decided by the Supreme Court.