Supreme Court ban on firecrackers goes up in smoke

Katie Ramirez
November 10, 2018

A "very poor" AQI translates into spike in respiratory illnesses and if the air quality dips further, the AQI turns "severe", which troubles healthy individuals and seriously affects those with health issues.

Experts believe that not only the burning of crackers has been responsible for the deteriorating air quality but replacement of moderate winds with light and calm winds, low temperatures, increased humidity levels are also contributing in increasing the toxicity in the air by a considerable figure.

A task-force under the federal pollution control board was scheduled to meet to assess the situation, a city government spokesman told Reuters.

The "hazardous" figure is roughly 33 times the World Health Organization safe limit of 25 and health experts advise people to stay indoors or use masks for protection.

In gross violation of the Supreme Court order, people in several areas of Delhi burst firecrackers until at least midnight, two hours after the 10 pm deadline. There were, however, no "green" fireworks available for sale and countless fireworks were let off through the evening. Diwali is one of their biggest festivals.

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The court had asked police to ensure that banned fireworks were not sold and said in case of any violation the commanding officer of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of the court.

The apparent lack of concern about the toxic air - whether through ignorance or apathy - gives politicians the cover they need for failing to address the problem, say environmental activists and others.

On Friday, levels of particulates 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, the most harmful to human health, peaked at 845, according to the United States embassy website that monitors air quality independently.

"The Delhi Air Quality Index is 500+ at present".

Sharma said Friday the AAP government has "failed" to take measures needed to address the problem of air pollution which was reflected in "low-grade" allegations on him by AAP leaders. Around this time past year, he declared a public health crisis, shutting down schools for a week and told residents to remain indoors.

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