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More than 300 arrested as New Delhi plunged into toxic Diwali smog

10 November 2018
More than 300 arrested as New Delhi plunged into toxic Diwali smog

Reports filtering in the morning after India's most regulated Diwali in recent memory say the Supreme Court's orders were ignored in several places, here are the cities with the worst air according to the Central Pollution Control Board's Air Quality Index. The period following Diwali past year saw hospitals inundatedwith people suffering the effects of air pollution.

Officials on Thursday said police seized 2,776kgs of firecrackers from various parts of the city, and a total of 87 people were arrested and 72 cases cases registered in connection with the illegal sale of fireworks.

"Even if 50 per cent of the total load of toxic fire crackers as compared to Diwali-2017 is added, the prevailing weather conditions will aggravate the high smoke level and make air quality to persist in SEVERE range for at least 2 day (8-9 Nov 2018)", the SAFAR app, developed by the Ministry of Earth and Sciences said in its report.

The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of crackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali. The US Embassy in the Delhi - which according to the World Health Organization is the most polluted city on Earth - said its readings touched 526.

With air quality in areas breaching levels that are beyond hazardous, it's time to be aware, to know what you are breathing and how your lungs are getting clogged.

"The Supreme Court order on fireworks was not followed and health warnings from the government were limited to few newspapers and some websites", said Greenpeace campaigner Sunil Dahiya.

On Thursday, the PM2.5 level was recorded at 492 gm-3, more than eight times the permissable limit.

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.

Two federal government pollution indices showed air at "very poor" and "severe" levels, indicating that prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illnesses.

Admitting that violations were observed, police said it was manually not possible to monitor every incident considering the population of the city and a complete ban on firecrackers can't be imposed till the entire community is willing to join hands.