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SC ban on firecrackers flouted; Delhi pollution spikes


IANS
New Delhi
The Supreme Court ban during Diwali was violated in full swing across Delhi and NCR with people bursting firecrackers till late night leading to thick haze on Thursday morning and deteriorating air quality, which experts say was six times higher than normal.
"The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi and National Capital Region between 8 and 9 pm on Wednesday was recorded around 150-160. It continued increasing slowly and crossed 250 (severe category) by 3 am. The AQI crossed 300 (very severe category) by 6 am. The AQI index increased because of bursting of firecrackers," a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) official told IANS requesting anonymity.
Asked if the CSE has any data on bursting of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR, the official said:"CSE is not taking much stand exactly on firecrackers this time but it (pollution) was 6.5 times higher in Delhi and NCR than the standard (60) category within 24 hours."
Delhiites continued to burst firecrackers on Diwali long after the 10 pm deadline set by the Supreme Court. Despite the apex court's order imposing stringent rules on sale of firecrackers and its use, people managed to buy it illegally from the sellers in neighbourhood markets. Violations of the Supreme Court order were reported from the areas comprising IP Extension, Mayur Vihar's Phase I, II and Extension in east Delhi, Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi, Lutyens Delhi, Dwarka in west Delhi and most of the sectors in Noida.
The police admitted that there were violations, adding that they would take serious legal action against sellers.
The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals. It had also allowed the manufacture and sale of only"green crackers", which have a low light and sound emission and less harmful chemicals.

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