Pollution on the rise, but Mumbai’s Diwali air cleaner this year

Pollution on the rise, but Mumbai’s Diwali air cleaner this year

The national capital and the areas around experienced the first smog episode of this season as the city turned into gas chamber a day ahead of Diwali with air quality placed in "emergency" or "beyond-severe" category.

Delhi's air quality index on Wednesday showed a slight improvement due to the high-speed wind. Experts have warned of severe spike in pollution levels after Diwali even if "partial toxic crackers" are burnt compared to past year.

The likely spike in pollution levels is also expected to bring down the ventilation index to 7,000m2/s on Wednesday, which could cause breathing trouble.

D Saha, former additional director and head of air quality management division at the CPCB had earlier said that Delhi was likely to have a clean Diwali.

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An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.

She said: 'Wind speeds dropped to 15 kilometres per hour from 29 and there's a significant jump in crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana in the past few hours'.

Air quality will be "bad" on November 8 even if "partial toxic crackers" are burned compared to previous year, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said. Air quality will be "bad" on Thursday, 8 November - a day after Diwali - even if "partial toxic crackers" are used as compared to previous year, SAFAR said.

Warning that the Diwali day is expected to be polluted, weather analysts say that while now the polluting north-westerly winds are blowing higher at 5,000 meters, bringing a temporary relif to the region, the particles will start settling down, adding to pollution on Diwali.

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Central Pollution Control Board Member Secretary Prashant Gargava on Tuesday said the board has advised transport authorities to prohibit heavy vehicles from entering the city from November 8 to November 10.

On Tuesday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 190 while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) was recorded at 325 in Delhi.

The pollution authority could also consider inducing artificial rain after Diwali to wash away hazardous pollutants.

At 2 p.m., the average particle pollutants across 35 regions of Delhi was 215 microgrammes per cubic meters, falling under the "very poor" category, against 257 or "severe" category at 9 a.m. SAFAR's forecast report said favourable weather conditions resulted in a lower AQI than what was expected.

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