Delhi gasps for breath after Diwali firework frenzy

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Forecasts suggest the air quality across northern cities will remain very poor till Sunday.

The overall air quality index (AQI) Thursday was recorded in the "severe plus emergency" category at 642, according to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data. The air quality index on Mysuru Road was 145 on Thursday while last week it was 79.

A high level of tiny particulate matter can lodge deep into the lungs and cause major health problems.

Diwali is always one of the worst times of year for air quality, as firework smoke mixes with auto exhaust fumes, factory emissions and construction dust. Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Gurugram, and Patna recorded "severe" air pollution with AQIs hovering well above 400 on Thursday night.

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The air quality in Delhi has reached "severe plus emergency" category following Diwali celebrations.

As per reports, people in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday continued to burst crackers on Diwali well past the 10 pm deadline despite the Supreme Court's directive.

Ludhiana's Diwali day AQI was 137 (moderate) but it's Diwali night AQI was not available at PPCB as well as Central Pollution COntrol Board (CPCB). He said that last year average PM10 was 430µgm/m3 and PM2.5 was 226µgm/m3 whereas this year these are 277µgm/m3 and 126µgm/m3 respectively. In recent weeks Delhi doctors have reported an increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems due to a rise in pollution levels from burning crop residue, vehicle exhausts and industrial gases.

All the readings showed a significant increase compared to the previous week.

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Authority said it was closely monitoring the situation and if the pollution shows an increasing trend then emergency measures will be imposed in the national capital.

The national capital woke up to a yet another smoggy morning on Friday with the air quality in the "severe" category.

In certain places, firecrackers were burnt before and after the set time frame, despite the Supreme Court's order.

The court said the police should ensure there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station of the area would be held personally liable and this would amount to committing contempt of court.

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Last Diwali Ludhiana topped the chart of most polluted cities of the state.