This year's Diwali night turned into a nightmare for those who are vulnerable to noise pollution, with the city recording sound-and-noise pollution levels higher than the permissible limits.
According to Delhi government data, while the suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) showed a decline, carbon monoxide (CO) and oxides of nitrogen (NO2) showed a marginal increase.
Experts blamed the evening's dense smog and the low temperature, without commenting on the usage of crackers (less or more) in absence of comparative data, for the increase.
But it was obvious what was the main cause. Dolon Ray, a housewife from Mayur Vihar, spent her Diwali evening worrying over her four-month-old daughter who wouldn't stop puking. "The noise (of crackers) was so much that my daughter threw up continuously," Ray said.
Visibility, too, was poor in several areas as the air was filled with smog coupled with smoke from firecrackers.
Said Tsering Tashi, a Delhi University student who lives at Mukherjee Nagar, "The smoke in my room would not go even after I put on the fan. I wonder what would have happened to asthmatic people?"
What is making is difficult to get the exact figures is that the authorities have shifted to a new system of monitoring that would take some time to come out with the figures.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee member-secretary Dr AK Ambasht said, "The temperature last year was 32 degrees Celsius while yesterday it was 22 degrees Celsius. The pre-winter conditions clubbed with almost no wind prevented the smoke from moving upwards." As per DPCC statistics, the analysis of ambient noise levels showed that the noise ranged between 72.32 dB to 88.0 dB across the city with maximum level at Anand Vihar and minimum at Vasant Kunj.