Supreme Court ban on firecrackers goes up in smoke

Delhi air quality shoots to 'hazardous' category as residents flout Diwali firecracker curbs

Other north Indian cities also recorded major pollution episodes.

The overall AQI on Thursday was recorded in the "severe plus emergency" category at 642 in Delhi, according to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data.

Vehicles on Delhi roads generate roughly 20 percent of these tiny particles in the air, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream and which are linked to chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and heart disease.

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.

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The contribution of PM2.5 and PM10 had increased from 50 per cent to 70 per cent last night, indicating an increased share of locally generated firecracker emissions, the Safar said.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Authority said it was closely monitoring the situation and if the pollution shows an increasing trend then emergency measures will be imposed in the national capital.

"The fire counts are seen to be very high but it is a combination of stubble burning and widespread firecrackers in that region and need not be confused with stubble only fire", it said in a report.

The deterioration in air quality is being witnessed despite the Supreme Court directing that only green firecrackers be lit and that too for two hours between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali.

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In response, authorities have banned entry of trucks into Delhi from November 8 to 10 under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The MeT department said mist and smog cover was reported at all three airports of the city with the lowest visibility of 400-700m recorded between 7 am and 9 am.

The Supreme Court sought to regulate urban India's toxic air pollution crisis by setting two hour windows for bursting crackers this Diwali.

The court had asked the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and said in case of any violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of court. These included Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens' Delhi, IP Extension, Dwarka and Noida Sector-78.

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