Delhi: Over 600 kg illegal crackers seized, 31 arrested on Diwali

Crackers

"A smoke layer was formed over Delhi and the National Capital Region after 1 a.m. bringing down inversion layer and trapping pollutants rapidly", it said.

The Central Pollution Control Board-led task force will decide on Saturday whether the anti-pollution measures in place in Delhi will continue or whether tougher steps need to be taken to counter the deterioration in air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority said on Friday. "The contribution of PM2.5 in PM10 which was 75 per cent on Thursday (against normal 55 per cent) has been reducing", the SAFAR said.

With levels of air pollution classed as "hazardous", the restriction on the almost 40,000 medium and heavy lorries that enter Delhi every day was imposed late Thursday (Nov 8).

"Northeasterly winds at moderate speed, and sporadic rainfall in areas around Mumbai, stopped pollution levels from reaching extremely high levels on Wednesday as it otherwise does during this time of the year", said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.

On Diwali, crackers were bursted on large scale in these cities and despite Supreme Court order on time limit, sound of crackers could be heard after 10 PM.

Delhi's air quality showed "significant" improvement as compared to Thursday when it went off the charts to the "severe plus emergency" category. It is poor when between 201 to 300 and very poor between 301 to 400.

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The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by global standards. A "severe plus emergency" level AQI essentially means that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to the advisory issued by SAFAR. "This will persist for November 10 and 11, so conditions will remain around severe for the next two days", said Mahesh Palawt, Director of Skymet.

Despite the Supreme Courts directives, Delhi-NCR burst firecrackers on Diwali well past the 10 p.m. deadline that showed the AQI at a slightly improved level over previous year.

However, violations were reported from across Delhi, including areas like Anand Vihar, ITO, Jahangirpuri Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens Delhi, IP Extension and Dwarka.

Also, the apex court had banned the sale of traditional crackers and allowed only "green crackers" in Delhi-NCR, but there was no clarity as to how many people could procure these, or the ones not containing the polluting barium salts.

The top court had directed the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and in case of violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the area would be held responsible.

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