Air pollution in the national capital and its surrounding regions spiked drastically on Monday, a day after people bursted firecrackers to "challenge the darkness" as a sign of participation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for switching off lights and lighting diyas and lamps to fight against coronavirus crisis.
The Prime Minister had called for a nine-minute candlelight vigil in a bid to dispel the darkness spread by the pandemic but instead of lighting candles, people resorted to bursting firecrackers.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, the air quality index (AQI) which was earlier in the "good" category due to complete lockdown in the country, now stands in the "satisfactory" category at 87 due to the pollution caused by bursting of firecrackers.
Among several stations monitored by SAFAR, Delhi's Chandni Chowk, IIT Delhi and Mathura Road recorded the air in the amoderate' category with the AQI value standing at 95, 103 and 153, respectively.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), air quality index in Rohini stood at 194 and that of Mundaka docked at 185.
Other major cities such as Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad recorded the air quality in the "satisfactory" category with the overall AQI value standing at 58, 79 and 92, respectively.
aceThe air pollution due bursting of crackers is temporary and will subside in a day. The deteriorated air quality will come back to normal soon," said Kuldeep Srivastava, who heads the regional meteorological center at the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
Due to western disturbance, there will be a thunderstorm tomorrow, which will further clear up the air, Srivastava added.
Environmentalists also condemned the act of bursting crackers at a time when the country was inhaling fresh air.
"People should have controlled their emotions. The incident has drastically affected birds, animals and human health," said Vikrant Tongad, environment conservationist and founder of Social Action for Forest and EnvironmentA(SAFE).
He said that bursting crackers was against the directions of the Supreme Court. "Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not instructed this to people."