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Delhi air quality remains poor, may turn 'severe' post Diwali, but better than last year

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New Delhi, Oct 27: This Diwali 2019, Delhi's air quality continues to remain in 'poor' category and is likely to plummet to 'severe' levels after Sunday celebrations, but for a shorter period. But the situation will not be as bad as last year.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the National Capital Region's overall air quality index (AQI) is expected to enter the 'severe" category' for a short period of time on Sunday night, but the situation would be not as bad as last year.

Delhi air quality remains poor, may turn severe post Diwali, but better than last year

The SAFAR said the highest impact of firecracker emissions was expected early on Sunday from 1-6 am.

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Apart from firecracker emission, stubble burning in neighbouring states is another contributing factor to Delhi pollution. On Sunday, the share of smoke from crop residue burning in the city's PM2.5 concentration is predicted to be 19 per cent.

According to a PTI report, last year, Delhi's AQI stood at 642, which falls in the "severe plus emergency" category, on November 8, the day after Diwali. In 2017, the AQI post-Diwali was 367.

With Delhi's air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court had last year banned polluting firecrackers and ordered that only green firecrackers, which is said to cause 30 per cent less pollution, can be manufactured and sold.

Several measures have been put in place to combat the post-Diwali pollution.

Apprehending a dip in air quality post Diwali due to firecracker emissions, stubble burning and unfavourable weather, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Friday banned construction activities at night in the NCR from Saturday-Wednesday.

It also directed closure of coal-based industries, barring power plants, in Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat and Bahadurgarh during the period.

On EPCA's direction, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have also ordered the closure of industries, which have not yet shifted to piped natural gas, from Saturday-Wednesday.

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A PMO-led panel has directed implementing agencies and the NCR states to intensify anti-pollution measures up to mid-November so that there is immediate impact on air quality.

The Centre has also asked Haryana and Punjab to stop stubble burning completely for the next few "critical" days.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor", and 401-500 "severe". Above 500 is "severe-plus emergency" category.

(With PTI Inputs)

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