Delhiites wake up to hazy Diwali morning, air quality remains poor

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The national capital and the areas around experienced the first smog episode of this season as the city turned into gas chamber a day ahead of Diwali with air quality placed in "emergency" or "beyond-severe" category. The Air Quality Index (AQI) around Mandir Marg recorded PM 10 levels at 707 and PM 2.5 at 663.

Delhi's air quality was recorded in "very poor" category on Tuesday as wind continued to blow from regions where there is rampant stubble burning, authorities said, warning of severe spike in pollution levels after Diwali even if "partial toxic crackers" are burnt compared to previous year. Authorities have warned of a spike in the pollution levels after Diwali on Wednesday even if "partially toxic crackers" are burnt compared to past year. Areas like Dadar, Lower Parel and other parts of Central Mumbai as well as South Mumbai has a thick blanket of haze, which could be due to increase in the PM 2.5 level.

In NCR, at 4 AM, the AQI was 435 in Ghaziabad, 425 in Greater Noida, 433 in Noida, and 421 in Faridabad, with 401 to 500 considered "severe".

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday appealed to residents of the national capital to celebrate a crackers-free Diwali in order to reduce air pollution.

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The spike in the pollution level comes a day after the air quality had improved to moderate category due to meterological factors and the control measures implemented by the authorities in Delhi.

However, smoke from fireworks would get trapped, forcing levels of particles in the air to become significantly higher in the morning, taking air quality to the "severe" category.

On Wednesday, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) recorded AQI of 328 at Dhirpur, 375 in Mathura Road, Delhi University - 365 and 353 at IGI Airport Terminal 3.

Winds coming from the north-west direction is bringing the influence of biomass burning to Delhi-NCR which may continue up till Wednesday morning, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said.

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According to the SAFAR, both stubble burning in surrounding states of Delhi and firecrackers are causing deterioration of air quality in the national capital.

On Monday, the overnight change in weather condition, change in wind directions and impact of stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana led to higher pollution levels.

New Delhi, Nov 6 A group of people on Tuesday gathered outside the office of the Environment Ministry to protest against the alarming rise in the pollution level that has raised health concerns.

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