New Delhi: New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai were among the world’s top 10 most polluted on Monday, a day after Diwali celebrations throughout the country. The national capital, claimed the top spot with an air quality index (AQI) of 420, categorised as ‘hazardous’ by Swiss group IQAir.
Kolkata secured fourth place with an AQI of 196, and Mumbai, the financial capital, stood at the eighth spot with an AQI of 163. The post-Diwali pollution, exacerbated by firecracker use, raises concerns about air quality and public health. An AQI level of 400-500 impacts healthy people and is dangerous to those with existing diseases, while a level of 150-200 brings discomfort to people with asthma, lung and heart problems. Levels of 0-50 are considered good.
Delhi was enveloped in a thick layer of smog from Sunday night, sending its AQI to an alarming 680 a little after midnight. Like every year, the ban on firecrackers in the capital had no effect.
Earlier, on Friday, authorities postponed the decision to restrict the use of vehicles after a brief spell of rain brought some respite from a week-long exposure to toxic air. Addressing the press on Monday after the pollution review meeting, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the pollution levels are not just for today. He added that in the coming few days, windspeed is likely to decrease, which means that pollution level is likely to increase. “Until the next batch of orders from CAQM, all restrictions of GRAP-4 will continue,” Rai said.