New Delhi: Diwali season is here and the entire nation is brimming with excitement at the prospect. Festival of lights, it certainly is, however, it also means an unavoidable rise in pollution levels.
Setting off crackers is an old tradition on Diwali, but it has always resulted in an increase in pollution levels, every year.
Climate change has already gripped the entire world and excess pollution is just making things worse.
This year, Delhi's air quality is already at an all time low with time to spare for the festival, as per reports.
With cracker bursting gradually picking up and falling temperature, ultrafine pollutants is on the rise, making the city's air quality reach hazardous levels.
Centre's pollution monitor SAFAR had the average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 (fine, respirable pollutants) at 137 and 269 micrograms per cubic metre respectively at 7.30 PM, as again the safe standards of 60 and 100.
At 313, the air quality index (AQI) was recorded in the red zone as 'very poor', which comes with the advisory to avoid outdoor activity and use pollution masks.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee said volumes of PM 2.5 and PM 10 had peaked on October 23, nearing around 150 and 300 micrograms per cubic metres respectively. It had briefly fallen yesterday due to strong wind movement.
In a meeting, Environment Minister Imran Hussain also ordered all the concerned agencies to crackdown against violators of dust control norms.
The National Green Tribunal has directed all land owning agencies, MCDs, DDA, cantonment board in Delhi to impose fine of Rs 5,000 on persons found burning leaves in the open and fine upto Rs 5 lakh on the owners or builders who are found violating dust control measures.
"Hussain asked all the land owning agencies to intensify their inspections as the winter is fast approaching and air pollution problem is likely to become grave, as seen from the past experience," a government spokesperson said.
As temperature falls, lower colder layers of atmosphere do not permit easy dissipation of particulate matter resulting in heightened air pollution levels in the National Capital Region.
The Delhi government has already written to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan over crop residue burning by farmers, which is one of the major sources of air pollution in the city.
(With PTI inputs)