Leftovers of our Diwali. The Chocking Delhi.

India celebrated Diwali with all its glory. Now it’s time to talk about the leftovers; the pollution created by our Diwali celebrations.
For the last few years, the festival of lights has become the festival of noise and smoke. The pollution affects Delhi- National Capital Region (NCR) severely every year.


The air quality of Delhi was fluctuating considerably on the week of Diwali celebrations. After a weekend of bursting firecrackers, the Delhiites woke up on Oct. 31st to some serious smog issues. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) has issued a ‘severe’ advisory, warning locals to avoid any physical activity outdoors on Oct. 31 and Nov. 01.

Commuter wearing mask. Delhi air pollution
A commuter covers her face with a mask to protect against pollution at Laxmi Nagar in New Delhi. (Source: Hindustan Times)

The air quality of Delhi improved slightly on the following days. The pollution levels stepped down from ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ on 2nd and 3rd Nov. On 4th Nov. it further stepped down into ‘poor’.
On 5th Nov. the capital city faced a severe deterioration in the air quality. The pollution levels hit a ‘severe plus emergency’ category. A change in wind direction and rampant stubble burning in neighbouring states favoured this steep deterioration in the air quality. The Delhi- NCR recorded its worst air quality of the season on 5th Nov.
On the eve of Diwali, the air quality index was recorded at 394, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category. Later on the day of Diwali morning, the air quality further improved. The AQI recording 268 on 7th Nov. which falls under the ‘poor’ category.

Indians bursting firecrackers
Indians light firecrackers wearing masks to fight pollution as they celebrate Diwali. (Source: AP Photo)


A day after Diwali, Delhi’s air turned again hazardous. AQI hit the maximum level of 999 at several areas of the city.
Last month, India’s Supreme Court has imposed a ban on conventional firecrackers in NCR. The SC also mandated a two-hour period for bursting ‘green crackers’ only. As firecrackers that suit the description of ‘green crackers’ aren’t available at NCR, the police force had to double time their efforts to follow the court order. Delhi police have reportedly filed cases against 1000 plus individuals.
The SAFAR has forecasted that Delhi’s air quality will be stable at ‘very poor’ category if the usage of firecrackers were nill for the Diwali celebrations. Even then the robust stubble burning in neighbouring states and the slow surface winds will adversely affect the air quality of NCR.

Pollution after Diwali
Traffic moves on a road enveloped by smoke and smog, on the morning following Diwali in New Delhi. (Source: Financial Express)


The latest SAFAR results showed that the air quality has improved significantly since 8th Nov. But the recovery would be slow due to low surface wind speed. The forecast also shows the chances of rain at the National Capital Region. This will also significantly helps in reducing pollution. The Delhi Government has imposed a 3-day ban for heavy vehicles entering Delhi starting from Thursday 11 pm. Various efforts are being taken by various bodies to improve the air quality of the National Capital Region.

Delhiites doing outdoor activities
Locals wearing masks for outdoor activities at Delhi. The air quality is forecasted to improve on the coming days. (Source: PTI)


Its high time to make our celebrations more responsible and green. Our celebrations should be bringing smiles on our faces, not masks. Steps to a green, breathable future should begin from now, not from a day prior to our celebrations. Let’s pledge for a green future.