NEW DELHI – Delhi experienced a high level of air pollution on Friday, a day after the Hindu festival Diwali, despite the ban on firecrackers.
The Central Pollution Control Board released on Friday the values of PM2.5 (particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns in diameter) and PM10 (particulate matter of less than 10 microns in diameter), which are considered particularly toxic to human health.
In South Delhi’s R.K. Puram, PM10 reached 902 micrograms per cubic meter at 6 am, as opposed to 841 last year, while PM2.5 was 794, much higher than the 378 in 2016.
At the United States embassy in central Delhi, which has its own air quality monitor, PM2.5’s level of 1,031 was detected at 9 am, considerably lower than a level of 1,985 last year.
According to the World Health Organization, concentration of particulate matter above 150 micrograms per cubic meter causes harm to the elderly and children, as well as those with respiratory illnesses.
When the concentration exceeds 200, the air becomes very unhealthy and can adversely affect the general population, while levels above 300 are considered toxic.
Diwali celebrations, which marks the beginning of the Hindu new year, commemorate the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after 14 years in exile, during which he defeated the demon king Ravana.
On Oct. 9, the Supreme Court of India issued a ban on the sale of firecrackers until Nov. 1 in an attempt to prevent the usual spike in air pollution during Diwali, which resulted in fewer firecrackers being burnt this year, although it did not prevent the Indian capital from facing a heavily smoggy Friday.