Indian capital city New Delhi and its outskirts Monday witnessed thick blanket of smog after an overnight Diwali (Hindu festival of lights) celebration saw huge quantities of fireworks set off.
The air quality plunged to a dangerous “severe” level of rating in the wake of incessant bursting of firecrackers, resulting in chocking air and badly affecting the visibility.
Officials said levels of Particulate Matter or PM 10, considered hazardous to health, rose to 999 micrograms per cubic meter, way above the safe limit of 100.
According to the National Air Quality Index, air in “severe” category affects healthy people and seriously impacts the people suffering from respiratory diseases.
Authorities in the capital city had already warned the residents against bursting fireworks keeping in view the prevalent humidity and wind speed.
However, the residents ignored the warnings and Sunday night indulged in setting off huge quantities of fireworks to celebrate Diwali, thereby worsening air quality.
Last week, the local government in Delhi said it would install air purifiers alongside roads in a bid to cut the effects of air pollution.
In India, setting off fireworks on festivals is synonymous with celebrations and families spend lavishly to buy fire crackers and then set it off during marriages and Diwali night.
Delhi is considered to be the most polluted city in the world. Last year, the city’s high court described the capital as “gas chamber”.
Diwali festival marks an official holiday in India.
The festival is being celebrated every year in the memory of Hindu God Lord Rama’s homecoming after completing 14 years in exile in the forest and his victory over demon king Ravana. Endit