Delhi’s Diwali pollution lowest in 5 years, says CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said the post-Diwali pollution level in the national capital was lowest in five years. The air quality dropped to “very poor” in the national capital on Monday, a day after Diwali.
The CM praised Delhiites for showing restraint while bursting crackers. “Yesterday (Sunday) till about 8:30 pm, I was really happy. But, post that people in Delhi did burn a few crackers. Nevertheless, this time air pollution has been lowest in the past five years,” Kejriwal said at a press conference on Monday.
He, however, said that crackers were burnt in large scale in the neighbouring cities such as Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Noida and Faridabad which is likely to have an impact on Delhi’s air too.
The air quality index (AQI) value at 10 am was recorded as 346 in the “very poor” category, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. The data shows that pollution from bursting of firecrackers started accumulating overnight.
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“The amount of crackers that were burnt on Sunday was also lesser, but we need to reach a stage where it is completely stopped. We have overcome dengue in Delhi, we’ll overcome this as well,” Kejriwal said.
He said that the Delhi government will start distributing N-95 anti-pollution masks in schools from later this week. As a pollution control measure, the chief minister reiterated that the government will roll out the odd-even road space rationing scheme from November 4 to 15. The government will also start a programme to offer free rides to women in buses from Tuesday.
This was the first year when less-polluting green crackers were being used in Delhi. Developed by government agencies CSIR-NEERI, green crackers are considered 30% less polluting than conventional firecrackers.
On reports of uncertainty over the first T20 international in Delhi between India and Bangladesh over rising pollution levels, Kejriwal hoped that the match does take place.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.
The air quality has been much cleaner in days preceding Diwali this year compared to previous years. On Saturday, AQI was 287 (poor) compared to 338 (very poor) on the a day before Diwali last year. In 2017, AQI on Diwali eve was “very poor” at 302.
Though experts had warned that the real test will start after Diwali.