People in Delhi woke up to a thick haze shrouding the atmosphere after the ban on firecrackers was observed being flouted during Diwali celebration in several areas of the national capital region. According to IQAir, Delhi had an air quality index (AQI) of 420, hovering well above the ‘hazardous’ stage.
But the situation in two other states in the country – Kolkata and Mumbai – has equally deteriorated in the wake of impending winter, as well as the short burst of Diwali celebration, putting them in the fourth and eighth positions, respectively, among the top 10 most polluted cities in the world.
According to the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), the AQI in most parts of Kolkata breached 250-mark. In Mumbai, the AQI dipped to ‘poor’ category at 234-mark, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR-India).
The AQI from 0 to 100 is considered good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.
The Supreme Court on November 7 had ordered banning on firecrackers made of barium and other banned chemicals. The ban was mandated for every state and not just limited to the Delhi-NCR region, which is reeling under severe air pollution.
“Celebration can be done only if you share what you have. Not by polluting the environment. If you do that, you are being selfish...These days it’s not the children who do it, but the elders are burning more crackers,” ruled the bench.
In spite of the SC order, intermittent noise of firecrackers going off was heard, the intensity of which increased as the night approached.
Ban on firecrackers are being imposed in one way or the other, but those restrictions are rarely enforced.
“It is ironic that a country that could close down at a four-hour notice for lockdown cannot control or implement a Supreme Court order... Obviously, there was a lack of will and no enforcement. This is a very serious issue... The Supreme Court should call all the states and ask them why this order was not enforced,” Congress MP Manish Tewari said observing the condition of air quality in the country.
Apart from burning of firecrackers, farm fires, emissions from vehicles and industrial emission are among other major reasons of air pollution in the national capital and other places.