Diwali ‘drastically’ drives Delhi air pollution up to unsafe levels

12 Nov 2015

The annual Diwali celebration in India has had a damaging effect on the country’s cities, with air pollution 10 times higher than the WHO–set health limit in Delhi following hours of fireworks and parties.

Reports have emerged from India showing 2,000 micrograms per cubic metre of particulate matter in some areas over the course of four hours, with the WHO recommending just 50 over a 24-hour period.

This means that the congestion of fireworks led to a truly damaging short-lived spell in and around Delhi, according to the Times of India.

“Air quality deteriorated drastically” from 9pm, reads the report, “breaching all safety standards”.

Amazingly, despite these figures, the Delhi government has claimed the pollution this year is actually down on 2014, “though levels on the higher side than required”.

Delhi is a giant city, with numerous large, separate areas contained within, each of which went dangerously above advised pollution levels.

Anand Vihar, RK Puram, Mandir Marg and Punjabi Bagh breached all safety standards in terms of air (and noise) pollution, with Anand Vihar topping out at that 2,000 figure.

By this morning, levels had dropped significantly but still hovered around the 450 mark, nine times the recommended limit.

Delhi is, according to the WHO, the most polluted city in the world, with 65pc of the most polluted cities in the world coming from India.

There’s actually a grim race on between Delhi and Kolkota, with the WHO claiming the former will be home to the most deaths by pollution globally up to 2025, before the latter takes over by 2050.

Delhi image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic