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Numbers say Delhi air quality best in 4 years but is that enough?

The AQI numbers post-Diwali in Delhi show a considerable improvement when compared to last four years, thanks to the self restrain in bursting crackers by society at large. But will that be enough? Figures say this is well begun but we still have miles to go.

Sidhant Mamtany Sidhant Mamtany @SidMamtany
New Delhi Updated on: October 29, 2019 12:59 IST
Numbers say Delhi air quality best in 4 years but is that
Image Source : PTI

Numbers say Delhi air quality best in 4 years but is that enough?

One of the most widely celebrated festivals in India is Diwali and when we talk about Diwali, one of the cities which goes to lengths to make Diwali large is New Delhi. This 'larger than life' Diwali celebration leads to further deterioration of the already polluted Delhi air. Every year the air quality index dips drastically post Diwali. 

The AQI numbers post-Diwali in Delhi show a considerable improvement when compared to last four years, thanks to the self restrain in bursting crackers by society at large. But will that be enough? Figures say this is well begun but we still have miles to go.

In 2019 though, things have been rather subdued. Areas of West Delhi like Rajouri Garden, Subhash Nagar and Janak Puri which were famous for the outrageous amount of crackers bursting on the streets have been surprisingly silent. In fact, the numbers back the observation. Central Pollution Control Board figures for 11 pm on Diwali night show us the pollution figures for various areas of Delhi. 

No. Area Air Quality Index at 11 PM on Diwali (October 27)
1.  Bawana 603
2.  Rohini 878
3.  Jahangirpuri 758
4.  Punjabi Bagh 723
5.  Dwarka 600
6. Satyawati College 999
7.  RK Puram 999
8.  Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium 999
9.  Patparganj 999

For reference, safe AQI is between 0-200, so all these numbers are hazardous. However, these numbers are still significantly lower than the AQI count that Delhi normally sees around Diwali. 

This is the same sentiment that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had echoed in his press conference on Monday where he said that Delhiites have countered the problem of pollution and that crackers burst in Delhi this season was far lesser than usual.

Let's look at some more numbers.

The AQI figures support this theory. In 2019, Delhi saw the best AQI on the day after Diwali in 4 years. As per the figures, 2016 saw a sudden spike in the AQI figures which took Delhi's air quality to a severely harmful level, but since then the city has made progress and the AQI has been on a downward trend with 403 in 2017, 390 in 2018 and now 368 in 2019.
Having said that, these numbers are still very harmful and Delhi still has a long way to go in order to make its air safe for its residents. 
In his press conference Kejriwal said that Delhi's neighbouring cities like Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad saw a much larger quantity of crackers burst which also contributed to Delhi's fallen AQI.

Again the numbers show that the AQI in Delhi's neighbouring cities was as high if not more. Moreover, the reports coming in from the NCR suggested that the cracker burst quantity in the NCR was higher than average. 
Meanwhile, Kejriwal had said, "The people of Delhi have done commendable work and controlled dengue as well as pollution. But crackers were burst in nearby towns like Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurgaon," Kejriwal said.  
But this brings us to the central question of deteriorating weather. The thick smog and haze that has engulfed the winter sun and breeze is a cause of concern. Delhi-NCR use to be known for its winter. "Dilli ki Sardi" was an often-used phrase but these days it has become a thing of the past. 
Clearly, the construction work around the national capital region and stubble burning has taken its toll. 
On Monday, NASA released a photo that showed how stubble burning spreads across North India. 
In Delhi on the day of Diwali, 371 cases related to bursting of crackers were registered. 210 people were arrested in these cases and crackers weighing 3,764 kg were recovered.
Earlier, between September 1 and October 26, Delhi Police seized 7,100 kg of crackers and arrested 230 people in 386 cases of cracker burst in the capital.
Clearly we have a task cut out. 

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