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AQI Over 380, Delhi Witnesses 'Very Poor' Air Quality Amid Diwali Celebrations

The ‘Very Poor’ category lists the corresponding health impacts as “respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.”

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India
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Aided by the bursting of firecrackers, the level of air pollution in Delhi was in the red on Diwali night, according to data displayed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Readings of the Air Quality Index (AQI), which serves as a measure of the amount of pollution in the air, stood above 300 across various parts of Delhi through the intervening night of 24 and 25 October. This puts the air quality in the ‘Very Poor’ category, which lists the corresponding health impacts as “respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.”

For more context, an AQI of 300 and above is qualified as 'Hazardous' according to the World Air Quality Project's AQI meter.

Here are the AQI readings from various parts of Delhi at 3 am on 25 October. All readings are from the data displayed on the National Air Quality Index of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

  • Anand Vihar: 382 (Very poor)

  • Ashok Vihar: 329 (Very poor)

  • Jahangirpuri: 349 (Very poor)

  • R K Puram: 353 (Very poor)

  • Rohini: 318 (Very poor)

The ‘Very Poor’ category lists the corresponding health impacts as “respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.”
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) had forecasted that “the AQI is predicted to touch the upper end of 'very poor' to lower end of 'severe' on October 25 (without emission from firecrackers in Delhi).”
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Meanwhile, the air quality in Noida also ranked in the ‘Very Poor’ category during the same time. The AQI measured at Noida's Sector 62 at 3 am was 339.

Gurugram, on the other hand, saw the air quality worsening to a similar level. At Gurugram's Sector 51 at 3 am, the AQI stood at 337.

According to data recently put out by the World Air Quality Index, Gurugram topped the list of the world’s most polluted cities in Asia. Seven other Indian cities have also found mention in the top 10.

What About Other Major Cities?

Here’s how high the AQI went up on Diwali night in major cities across India.

The following AQI data points were recorded at 3 am on 25 October at the tracking centres mentioned right after the name of the city. All readings are from the data displayed on the National Air Quality Index of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

  • Mumbai (Chakala - Andheri East) – 224 (Poor)

  • Bengaluru (Silk Board) – 224 (Poor)

  • Hyderabad (Kokapet) – 183 (Moderate)

  • Chennai (Royapuram) – 202 (Poor)

  • Kolkata (Ballygunge) – 47 (Good)

  • Ahmedabad (Maninagar) – 174 (Moderate)

The ‘Very Poor’ category lists the corresponding health impacts as “respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.”
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Are AQI Readings Reliable?

Yes, for the most part. The main issue is that the AQI recorded by SAFAR’s monitoring stations across India only go as far as 999. This is a problem because in 2019, parts of Delhi like Anand Vihar witnessed PM 2.5 concentrations as high as 2400 on the CPCB monitor! AQI readings from across India, not just Delhi, touched PM 2.5 concentration levels of 1600-2000.

However, at the same time, AQI readings from the Ministry of Earth Science's SAFAR monitoring stations only read 999 across the capital.

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Anti-Air Pollution Measures

In order to tackle the increased amount of air pollution, the Delhi government has issued an order prohibiting the storage, usage, and sale of all kinds of firecrackers in the national capital till 1 January 2023.

Additionally, stage II of the Commission for Air Quality Management’s four-stage Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has kicked in for the capital.

The plan is to stop construction activities, ban the use of diesel generators, dissuade the use of private transport by hiking parking fees, and bar trucks from entering into Delhi with a few exceptions. Hotels, restaurants, and food stalls in the capital are also not allowed to use coal or firewood.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Air Pollution   Diwali   Delhi Smog 

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