Don`t burst crackers, light diyas: Delhi Environment Minister urges people

The Delhi Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, on Sunday appealed to the people of Delhi and its adjacent areas to not burst firecrackers and make it difficult for people to breathe during the festival of Diwali, reported news agency ANI.

The environment minister urged the people to instead celebrate the festival in a grand manner by lighting earthen lamps (diyas), reported ANI.

“I appeal to people in Delhi and nearby areas of Delhi. Diwali is a festival of diyas. Celebrate Diwali in a grand manner by lighting diyas but don`t burst crackers and make it difficult for people to breathe because the festival is to spread happiness,” Rai told ANI.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded in the `poor` category in the national capital on Sunday morning, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), reported ANI.

There was a slight improvement in Delhi`s air quality on Saturday following the rainfall on Friday.

The Delhi government on Sunday issued an advisory ahead of Diwali amid concerns over `poor` air quality in the national capital, reported ANI.

The advisory mentions general `dos and don`ts` for the festival season and health concerns.

According to the advisory, citizens are recommended to avoid going to places with high air pollution levels, such as slow and heavy traffic roads, areas near polluting industries, and construction-demolition sites.

The use of firecrackers is also discouraged. Burning wood, leaves, crop residues, and waste is not advised, reported ANI.

Officials are checking vehicles entering the national capital due to the pollution-related GRAP 4 regulations, reported ANI.

On Friday, the Delhi government on Friday announced the `Diya Jalao, Patakhe nahi` campaign in the city amid concerns about rising pollution again after the Diwali festival, reported ANI.

The Delhi Government however deferred the implementation of the Odd-Even traffic rationing scheme after the Supreme Court observed that the scheme wasn`t leading to a significant dip in pollution levels.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded its best air quality on Diwali day in eight years on Sunday, though pollution levels may rise due to burning of firecrackers and low night temperatures.

Delhiites experienced clear skies and abundant sunshine and the city`s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 218 at 4 pm, the best in at least three weeks.

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.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered `good`, 51 and 100 `satisfactory`, 101 and 200 `moderate`, 201 and 300 `poor`, 301 and 400 `very poor`, 401 and 450 `severe` and above 450 `severe plus`.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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