On Monday morning, thick plumes of smog enveloped Delhi and its surrounding areas as people celebrated Diwali with firecrackers in defiance of a strict ban. A dense haze covered many parts of the nation’s capital, limiting visibility to a few hundred meters.
With an average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 218 on Diwali day, the city saw its best air quality in eight years. But as night fell, smog began to appear due to a rise in pollution and the widespread use of firecrackers.
On Monday morning, the AQI levels in a few parts of the city exceeded 900. The AQI level was 999 in the central city region around India Gate. Aqicn.org states that the AQI was 999 in the morning and dropped to 553 in the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area. In Pusa, the index was recorded at 970, while in the heavily polluted Anand Vihar area of the city, it was recorded at 849.
Following nonstop falls on Friday, the pollution levels, which had been steadily declining since the end of October and were teetering between the “extremely poor” and serious categories, significantly decreased. The sky over Delhi was clear on both Saturday and Sunday.
Prior years’ Diwali celebrations and subsequent pollution levels in the nation’s largest city were higher. According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi had an AQI of 312 on Diwali the previous year, 382 in 2021, 414 in 2020, 337 in 2019, 281 in 2018, 319 in 2017, and 431 in 2016.
An AQI of 0–50 is considered “good,” 51–100 as “good,” 101–200 as “average,” 201–300 as “poor,” 301–400 as “extremely poor,” 401–450 as “dangerous,” and 450 and above as “serious plus.”
It is noteworthy that on Diwali night, at 12 a.m., numerous media outlets have been reporting noticeably elevated AQI levels in various parts of Delhi. However, it was during the Diwali season, when high AQI levels are typical due to the trapping of pollutants in cold air. When cooking is occurring in the kitchen, even indoor air purifiers’ pollutant indicators turn red. The levels eventually decline.
The media and some so-called “activists'” attempt to demonize Delhi residents for celebrating Diwali for a single day while willfully ignoring Punjabi farm fires, which are the ongoing cause of Delhi’s polluted air, exposes their hypocrisy. The storyline places the blame on the Hindu holiday and the celebration of it by Delhi residents, while governments continue to overlook real problems that lead to pollution.