Photos: Delhi braces for Diwali with “very poor” air quality

UPDATED ON NOV 14, 2020 11:58 AM IST
The Qutub Minar seen on a smog ridden morning in New Delhi on November 10. Despite abating from the “severe” category where the Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) had remained for six days starting November 6, the national capital was still dealing with “very poor” AQI a day before Diwali according to data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
Traffic moves on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on November 9. A change in wind speeds had marginally improved Delhi’s air this week but India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientists have already warned that this respite will be short-lived. Winds blowing over Delhi were expected to slow down from November 13, switching direction to north-westerly, and increasing the contribution of stubble-burning smoke from Punjab and Haryana. (Danish Siddiqui / REUTERS)
Sadar Bazar swarming with shoppers in the run-up to Diwali on November 12. “Even though we have forecast that this Diwali is likely to be better compared to the last few years, the weather is expected to be unfavourable. If people in the city burst crackers, then the pollution level could slip to ‘severe’ on Diwali day and a day after,” VK Soni, head of IMD’s environment monitoring research centre told HT. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
A municipal worker sprinkles water on trees and roads to reduce dust pollution at Chandni Chowk on November 13. SAFAR, under the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, has also released a similar forecast for Delhi’s air quality for the Diwali weekend, HT reported. (ANI)
Shoppers out on Dhanteras are reflected in a mirror, at Lajpat Nagar market in New Delhi on November 13. SAFAR’s forecast added that even if residents do not burn any crackers –the capital in under a total ban on the sale and use any kind of firecrackers –the PM 2.5 level is still expected to be on the higher-end of “very poor” or the lower-end of “severe” category. (Prashanth Vishwanthan / Bloomberg)
Signs for social distancing, sanitizing and wearing masks put up at Lajpat Nagar market in New Delhi on November 13. In a press briefing on November 13, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal expressed concern over the current spike in Covid-19 cases in the national capital and said that pollution is a contributing factor in the spike in the coronavirus disease cases. (Prashanth Vishwanthan / Bloomberg)
A man out in the early hours of the morning near AIIMS in New Delhi on November 10. However, despite the unfavourable weather conditions that prevail this time of the year, SAFAR has forecasted the AQI to be better this year, as compared to Diwali day and the days after the festival over the past four years. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
A man rows a boat in the heavily polluted Yamuna river at Kalindi Kunj in New Delhi on November 13. Despite the deterioration over the weekend, the IMD forecasts a favourable change in the direction of winds and their speeds from November 16. (Biplov Bhuyan / HT Photo)

The Qutub Minar seen on a smog ridden morning in New Delhi on November 10. Despite abating from the “severe” category where the Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) had remained for six days starting November 6, the national capital was still dealing with “very poor” AQI a day before Diwali according to data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

Traffic moves on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on November 9. A change in wind speeds had marginally improved Delhi’s air this week but India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientists have already warned that this respite will be short-lived. Winds blowing over Delhi were expected to slow down from November 13, switching direction to north-westerly, and increasing the contribution of stubble-burning smoke from Punjab and Haryana. (Danish Siddiqui / REUTERS)

Sadar Bazar swarming with shoppers in the run-up to Diwali on November 12. “Even though we have forecast that this Diwali is likely to be better compared to the last few years, the weather is expected to be unfavourable. If people in the city burst crackers, then the pollution level could slip to ‘severe’ on Diwali day and a day after,” VK Soni, head of IMD’s environment monitoring research centre told HT. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

A municipal worker sprinkles water on trees and roads to reduce dust pollution at Chandni Chowk on November 13. SAFAR, under the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, has also released a similar forecast for Delhi’s air quality for the Diwali weekend, HT reported. (ANI)

Shoppers out on Dhanteras are reflected in a mirror, at Lajpat Nagar market in New Delhi on November 13. SAFAR’s forecast added that even if residents do not burn any crackers –the capital in under a total ban on the sale and use any kind of firecrackers –the PM 2.5 level is still expected to be on the higher-end of “very poor” or the lower-end of “severe” category. (Prashanth Vishwanthan / Bloomberg)

Signs for social distancing, sanitizing and wearing masks put up at Lajpat Nagar market in New Delhi on November 13. In a press briefing on November 13, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal expressed concern over the current spike in Covid-19 cases in the national capital and said that pollution is a contributing factor in the spike in the coronavirus disease cases. (Prashanth Vishwanthan / Bloomberg)

A man out in the early hours of the morning near AIIMS in New Delhi on November 10. However, despite the unfavourable weather conditions that prevail this time of the year, SAFAR has forecasted the AQI to be better this year, as compared to Diwali day and the days after the festival over the past four years. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

A man rows a boat in the heavily polluted Yamuna river at Kalindi Kunj in New Delhi on November 13. Despite the deterioration over the weekend, the IMD forecasts a favourable change in the direction of winds and their speeds from November 16. (Biplov Bhuyan / HT Photo)

About The Gallery

Delhi spent the eve of Diwali with “very poor” air despite an improvement from last week when the AQI has remained firm in “severe” category, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). A couple of days’ worth of improvement in air quality came thanks to a change in wind direction and improved speed which cleared up the skies in the days leading to the festival. But this respite has been forecasted as short-lived, and a dip in air quality expected once more over Diwali weekend , with conditions worsening if residents take to bursting firecrackers.

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