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Posted on Nov 14, 04:46PM | IANS
A day after Diwali, the smog situation in Delhi saw a slight improvement with bright sunny Wednesday as the level of dust particles in the air came down and the visibility turned near normal.
According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the visibility level Wednesday morning was 1,000 metres.
"Visibility was normal at 1,000 metres and there was a slight smog cover which enveloped the city Tuesday and early Wednesday morning as fire crackers were burst for Diwali, but the air cleared later as the sun went up," an IMD official said.
"It was a near clear morning a day after Diwali, with the level of dust particles in the air going down and the visibility level improved, which had dipped Tuesday evening due to pollution caused by bursting of fire crackers," the official said.
Delhi was in the grip of smog from Oct 27 to Nov 8 due to drastic increase in fine particulate matter suspended over the city skies.
"With the pollutants dispersing two days before Diwali, the smog situation in Delhi has seen an improvement. But that doesn't mean air pollution levels are low in the national capital," Anumita Roy Choudhary, an environmental scientist at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), told IANS.
"Smog or not, crackers with dangerous toxic levels will add to the air pollution and will prove to be dangerous," Choudhary said.
She also said people in the national capital celebrated Diwali with a bang and many burst crackers only after 10 p.m. and this level of smoke is dangerous in Delhi's winter.
"While the Supreme Court had in 2005 put a ban on the use of firecrackers after 10 p.m. on Diwali night, many people burst crackers only after 10 p.m. With the nip in the air increasing in the night, the inverse condition gets worse from the smoke from cracker-bursting," Choudhary said.
However, there has been a dip in the sale of firecrackers this year, as awareness about pollution and wastage of money has increased.
"Two extreme pollution episodes back-to-back, would have had a worst impact on Delhiites. Though we don't know the exact air pollution levels post Diwali, efforts were made to minimise use of firecrackers that give rise to huge smoke. Exact data on pollution levels in the capital will be expected later in the day," said a senior environment department official said.
"This year, we had strict norms to check crackers sale. Only 804 retail cracker outlets were allowed in Delhi and even the noise levels of crackers were strictly monitored," the official added.