New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Delhiites on Friday morning woke up to a choked and grey sky with a thick blanket of smog as the air quality in the national capital deteriorated to the 'severe' category following Diwali celebrations. The air quality even reached the hazardous category in several parts of the Delhi-NCR as people burst firecrackers on Diwali in a blatant disregard to the government’s ban on it.

According to SAFAR, the air quality in Delhi deteriorated from the upper end of the "very poor" category to its lower end, almost touching the "severe" category with the overall AQI reaching 386 on Friday morning. Meanwhile, the air quality at Delhi's Janpath reached 'hazardous' at around 3 am today with the concentration of Pollution Meter (PM2.5) reaching 655.07.

The air quality in adjoining areas also deteriorated with the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Noida slipping to the 'severe' category. Noida's air quality recorded the concentration of PM 10 stood at AQI of 448 while Gurugram recorded AQI of (389) 'very poor' on Friday mroning.

As per the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the air quality would not improve until Sunday evening (November 7). The improvement would, however, just fluctuate in the 'Very Poor' category.

"The overall air quality of Delhi is plunged into the upper end of very poor category...It will continue to fall now and may enter at the edge of the "very poor" to "severe" category by tonight. If firecrackers are burned even 50 per cent of last year then PM2.5 will enter 'severe' category by midnight and shoot up rapidly by today early morning with AQI even crossing 500+," SAFAR informed.

Continuing its upward trend on Thursday, the city's air quality index, which stood at 382 at 4 pm, entered the severe zone around 8 pm as low temperature and wind speed allowed the accumulation of pollutants. People from several parts of the city and its suburbs complained of itchy throat and watery eyes, as a layer of smog, the first episode this season, lingered over the region.

Residents of Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi, Burari in North Delhi, Paschim Vihar in West Delhi and Shahdara in East Delhi reported incidents of firecracker bursting as early as 7 pm, despite the blanket ban in the national capital till January 1, 2022. The neighbouring cities of Faridabad (424), Ghaziabad (442), Gurgaon (423) and Noida (431) also recorded 'severe' air quality with cracker bursting peaking after 9 pm on Thursday.

The capital's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 382 on Thursday, up from 314 on Wednesday. It was 303 on Tuesday and 281 on Monday. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta