Delhi recorded a jump in pollution levels and a smoky haze returned on Monday morning after residents flouted the ban on firecrackers on Diwali night. The city recorded its best air quality on Diwali day in eight years on Sunday, with its 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) standing at 218 at 4 pm. However, firecracker bursting till late Sunday night led to a spike in pollution levels amid low temperatures.
At 7 am, the AQI stood at 275 (poor category). Pollution levels even entered the very poor category in some areas, including Shadipur (315), Ayanagar (311), Lodhi Road (308), Pusa (355) and Jahangirpuri (333). The concentration of PM2.5, fine particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the respiratory system and trigger respiratory problems, exceeded the safe limit of 60 microgramme per cubic metre by six to seven times in these areas.
Firecracker bursting pushed the PM2.5 concentration at many places, including Okhla and Jahangirpuri, in the capital over 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre in the early morning hours. Delhi recorded an AQI of 312 on Diwali last year, 382 in 2021, 414 in 2020, 337 in 2019, 281 in 2018, 319 in 2017 and 431 in 2016, according to Central Pollution Control Board data.