Capital is facing poor air quality before Diwali
Air quality across the city was marked very poor on Thursday
With days to go before the festival of Diwali, when pollution levels usually peak due to the firecracker use, the air quality across the city was marked very poor on Thursday. And the forecast for the upcoming few days also did not look good.
The concentration levels of the harmful particulate matter were on average three times as the standards.
According to the SAFAR index of the Ministry of Earth Science, the average level of PM2.5 was marked 211 micrograms per cubic metre, while the level of PM10 was 369.9 – both were categorised as “very poor”. On Friday and Saturday, the day before Diwali, levels of PM2.5 and PM10 were forecast to remain between very poor and severe – the highest warning level.
The levels of particulate matter shot up immensely during the daytime on Thursday, before the dropping again in the evening.
The level of PM10 at Anand Vihar, as per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, was a whopping 962 micrograms per cubic metre at 2.30 p.m. or nine times the safe limit. While these levels of pollution are dangerous, they are not unusual for this time of the year. With the fall in temperature, the pollution levels are also spike going into the winter season.
Questions raised on government
“This was expected and further it is only going to get worse. We have already saturated our air with pollution. But, what is the government doing about all this episodic winter pollution,” asked Anumita Roychowdhury, the head of the Centre for Science and Environment’s air pollution and clean transportation programme.
She mentioned that last year the Delhi Government, which had come to power in February 2015, may not have had the “lead time” to come up with urgent targeted anti-pollution plan for the winter. “This year they had the time to come up with a plan. But, we have not yet heard from the government on how they plan to stop this peaking of pollution in the winter. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity to do something,” she said.