Data revealing the level of pollution released on the day following Diwali is alarming not only in Delhi but other metro cities like Mumbai and Chennai. The Supreme Court of India, ahead of Diwali, had banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR keeping in mind the poor air quality in the city that further deteriorates post-Diwali every year. The ban seems to have a negligible effect in Delhi as the level of pollution in some of the region in Delhi was way more than the normal level. As per reports, certain places in the capital reported an exponential rise in pollution levels – as much as 24 times the normal levels.

According to Central Pollution Control Board data, the air quality index in Delhi and adjoining Gurugram and Noida satellite towns was recorded “very poor” at 15 monitoring stations – where it ranged from 339 to 390. The index value between 300 and 400 is considered “very poor” that can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

In Chennai, the air pollution level was four times more than last year. In the Sowcarpet area of Chennai, the pollution level was at a record high, it was eight times higher than the permissible limits. Thick clouds of smog and dense smoke hugged the city for very long hours. Chennai witnessed rain this Diwali but the weather was clear in the evening and therefore more people were involved in bursting crackers, resulting in more pollution.

The PM 10 index in Sowcarpet was at 178 last year but this year the recorded data stood at 777 marking a 4 times increase. Pollution control board member secretary N Sundara Gopal in a press release said that levels of gaseous pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide on Diwali were found to be well within the prescribed standard of 80 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Some of the experts also believe that change in climate conditions is also a major reason for the degrading air quality.

Level of pollution was similar in Mumbai, the air quality index (AQI) stood at 204 on Thursday evening and 316 on Friday morning. Experts believe that the air quality will degrade in the following day. The air quality has degraded many folds compared to last year. An AQI between 301 and 400 is considered ‘very poor’ and people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are advised to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.