Delhi’s air becomes more poisonous as ban on firecrackers flouted

NEW DELHI, Nov 13: Delhi’s foul air turned more poisonous on Monday as people flouted a ban on fireworks during Diwali festival celebrations on Sunday night.

Air pollution levels shot up to dangerous levels in the Indian capital, with a layer of smog engulfing the region – including the satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida.

Monday’s air quality index (AQI) data showed a hazardous increase in toxic matter overnight.

“The only reason why the level of pollution has increased today is because of bursting of firecrackers,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.

The pollution control agency recently announced a blanket ban on the manufacture, storage or sale of firecrackers across the city until Jan 1, but revellers still set off fireworks on Sunday night.

India’s Supreme Court has also imposed curbs on the use of firecrackers but the orders are flouted.

Air pollution spikes every winter season in the Delhi region as colder temperatures trap pollutants nearer to the ground.

Polluting industries, fumes from millions of vehicles, dust from construction activity, burning of agriculture waste in the neighbouring states, and poor municipal waste management contribute to the environmental crisis.

The local Delhi government recently restricted the entry of diesel trucks from other places and shut schools until November 18 due the increase in pollution.