Air quality in the Capital deteriorated alarmingly on Diwali night as pollution levels spiked as much as 23 times higher than normal in arguably the most polluted spot of the city.
According to real time ambient air quality data of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), which directly affects breathing, has gone up by over 23 times from the national ambiance air quality standard at Anand Vihar. At 11pm, PM10 was recorded at 2,308 microgram per cubic meter (mpcm) while the prescribed standard is 100mpcm. PM2.5, for which the prescribed standard is 60mpcm, also touched an alarming high at 619mpcm at midnight in this heavily polluted area in East Delhi.
At RK Puram, PM10 was at its peak at 1am at 1,333mpcm while PM2.5 touched 985mpcm at 9.20pm. In Punjabi Bagh, the PM2.5 was at its peak at 1am and was recorded at 638mpcm, while PM10 was recorded as 1,033mpcm highest also at 1am. However, according to the DPCC air quality index, a downward trend was witnessed since 2am across the monitoring stations.
Every year, the pollution figures start to increase around 6pm on the day of Diwali, tend to peak between 10pm & midnight and remain unhealthy till about 6am the next day.
According to readings of the System of Air quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which is jointly run by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and India Meteorological Department, Delhi University was the most polluted spot in the city with PM2.5 touching an average of 430 mg per cubic metre, which is a ‘severe’ reading, and the air quality here is expected to deteriorate further and clock up to 485 in the next 24 hours. The air quality at other SAFAR monitoring stations in Pusa (PM10: 263), Lodi Road (PM10: 250), Noida (PM2.5: 298), Mathura Road (PM10: 297), Aya Nagar (PM10: 268), Dhirpur (PM10: 289), Airport (T3) (PM2.5: 351), Pitampura (PM2.5: 381) and Gurgaon (PM2.5: 300) oscillated between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’. However, at Airport (T3) and Pitampura, the air quality is expected to deteriorate further and will become more ‘severe’, SAFAR forecasts say.
Experts say these particulate matters which are way above the permissible limit are extremely dangerous for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory and cardiac problems, and also for children and the elderly.
Earlier, the meteorological department cautioned that pollution level during Diwali night is expected to be “severe” due to bursting of firecrackers and advised those persons with heart and lung diseases to stay indoors.