New Delhi woke up today under a smog after burning firecrackers yesterday during the Diwali, the Hindu New Year, on a night when residents of the capital continued to fire pyrotechnics after the cutoff time set this year by the Supreme Court.
The Central Office of Pollution Control of Delhi (CPCB) recorded this morning concentrations of particles PM10 (those under 10 microns) and PM 2.5 (less than 2.5 microns) several times higher than those considered " toxic "by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the south of the city, in Lodhi Road, the values of PM10 reached towards 6.00, local time (0.30 GMT), 938 particles per cubic meter while in the case of PM2.5 (the most dangerous for humans) reached 944, levels similar to those recorded last year.
The concentration of particles varied slightly in other areas of the city, as in the case of the international airport located in the west of the city where at that same time the PM10 was 855 and the PM2.5 of 603.
The WHO classifies as toxic the concentration of PM10 particles greater than 300 per cubic meter; while concentrations of more than 100 PM10 particles per cubic meter affect risk groups, from 150 onwards it can affect the general population and more than 200 is harmful.
The Supreme Court on October 23 restricted the launching of firecrackers to a two-hour slot, from eight to ten at night, and banned the use of lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead and mercury in fireworks to curb the cloud of fog that usually covers New Delhi and other cities after the Diwali because of the suspended waste in the air.
In the Indian capital, explosions of fireworks could be heard well into the night, after the limit set by the highest judicial body in the country.
Every year at this time the burning of stubble in northern India and the arrival of cold trigger the concentration levels of harmful particles in the air, which increase even more after the Hindu festival.
The WHO data for 2018 have 14 cities in India, including Delhi, among the 18 most polluted in the world, based on the PM 2.5 particle values (less than 2.5 microns), which are taken into account for its high toxicity to humans.