The ban on firecrackers will be a huge relief for those who are left gasping for breath each year during and after Diwali
GN Bureau | October 10, 2017
If every year Delhi feels like a gas chamber during Diwali, then this year will hopefully be a lot better following a ban imposed on firecrackers by the supreme court.
The elderly, the infirm, the lung and heart patients and those suffering from asthma are the worst hit as they are left breathless and it can be sheer agony to wait for the smog to lift so that they can feel normal again. Many brace themselves for Diwali by shutting themselves indoors, till the thick smoke outside clears.
What is the problem creator? PM 2.5 or particulate matter is the culprit. These are tiny particles suspended in the air that enter our lungs and cause diseases. This jumped to extraordinary high levels in Delhi on Diwali last year.
Over last year’s Diwali, India’s air quality was among the world’s worst and between 40% and 100% worse in five north Indian cities than at the same time the preceding year, reported Hindustan Times.
On October 30 and 31, 2016, from 9 pm to the early hours of the next morning, north India recorded PM 2.5 levels of over 500 µg/m³ – exhibiting “beyond scale” pollution values, according to the database run by Berkeley Earth, an independent US research organisation.
Delhi is already one of the worst polluted cities in the world. And Diwali days take pollution to dangerously high levels.
In Delhi in 2016, in some areas, such as the Pitampura suburb of north Delhi, PM2.5 levels increased to 1,238 on Sunday, compared with 435 the same day of the festival a year earlier. The World Health Organization recommends that PM2.5 is kept below 10 as an annual average. It says exposure to average annual concentrations of PM2.5 of 35 or above is associated with a 15% higher long-term mortality risk, reported Wall Street Journal.
Year after year, the day after Diwali people wake up to a blanket of thick smog hanging in the air. The air quality becomes exceedingly poor.
This Diwali should be much different, thanks to the ban on firecrackers.
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