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This year, Diwali in Delhi expected to be significantly more Polluted than in Past Two Years

The Air Quality Index will be 443 on Sunday, or the Diwali day, and reach 472 the day after

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People using Firecrackers to celebrate Diwali,. Flickr
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New Delhi, October 29, 2016: Diwali this year in Delhi is expected to be significantly more polluted than in the previous two years.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Science, the air quality in the National capital region will be “severe” on October 30 and 31 and “worst” on October 31.

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The Air Quality Index (AQI) will be 443 on Sunday, or the Diwali day, and reach 472 the day after. The AQI between 300 to 400 is rated as very poor, and above 400 is rated as severe.

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“The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the night of October 30 and 31. The air quality will be worst on October 31 and will start to improve from November 1,” says the SAFAR forecast.

There is enough moisture in the air and winds are stagnant, and atmospheric holding capacity of the emissions coming from firecrackers has increased. The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the night of October 30-31.

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PM10 is particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in diameter and PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.

While Noida is expected to be the most polluted area, Lodhi Road in Delhi is expected to be least polluted.

Incidentally, the levels of particulate matter were significantly low in 2016 as compared to 2014 and 2015, but since October 25, started to become significantly higher.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) Senior Scientist M.P. George attributed paddy stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana for this year’s Diwali being more polluted than in 2014 and 2015.

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“One of the chief reasons behind this Diwali being significantly more polluted than last two years, is crop burning in Punjab and Haryana,” said George.

“While every year around this time, farmers in Haryana and Punjab set paddy stubble ablaze to prepare for the next crop season, the pollution this year has been more,” he said .

As per SAFAR health advisory, when the AQI is severe, people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. (IANS)

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Air Pollution Not Fatal But Could Reduce Life Expectancy By A Year

In countries like India and China, the benefit for elderly people of improving air quality would be especially large.

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Air pollution
Air pollution shortens life by more than one year in India. Wikimedia Commons

If air pollution were removed as a risk for death, people in the world could live at least a year longer and in India, which is battling a severe air pollution, the benefit would be even more — about 1.5 years, says study.

“Here, we were able to systematically identify how air pollution also substantially shortens lives around the world,” said lead researcher Joshua Apte from The University of Texas at Austin in the US.

“What we found is that air pollution has a very large effect on survival — on average about a year globally,” Apte added.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the researchers looked at outdoor air pollution from particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns.

These fine particles that can come from power plants, cars and trucks, fires, agriculture and industrial emissions can enter deep into the lungs, and breathing PM2.5 is associated with increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases and cancer.

Delhi air pollution
Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons

The team used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to measure PM2.5 air pollution exposure and its consequences in 185 countries.

They then quantified the national impact on life expectancy for each individual country as well as on a global scale.

“A body count saying 90,000 Americans or 1.1 million Indians die per year from air pollution is large but faceless,” Apte said.

“Saying that, on average, a population lives a year less than they would have otherwise — that is something relatable,” he added.

In the context of other significant phenomena negatively affecting human survival rates, Apte said this is a big number.

Also Read: How Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in Remote Tribal Belts of Andhra Pradesh in India Have Brought Down Maternal Deaths to Zero

“For example, it’s considerably larger than the benefit in survival we might see if we found cures for both lung and breast cancer combined,” he said.

“In countries like India and China, the benefit for elderly people of improving air quality would be especially large. For much of Asia, if air pollution were removed as a risk for death, 60-year-olds would have a 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher chance of living to age 85 or older,” Apte said (IANS)