Delhi Environment Min. reviews air quality

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According to SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), the 24-hour rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10 were 154 and 256 micrograms per cubic metre respectively at around 11 pm yesterday.

Even though the pollution levels did not soar like last Diwali, when Delhi experienced its worst smog in last five years, and in fact this Diwali was the "cleanest" in last three years, AQI observed a day after on Friday was very close to last year's.

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Air pollution levels jagged across the nation as the celebration of lights bowled around. Safe or good level of PM 2.5 is 0-51 and satisfactory from 51-100.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) value on October 20, 2017, was 319, terming it in "very poor" category, while the AQI last Diwali (October 30, 2017) had touched "severe" level after recording an index value of 431.

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The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city also glowed red and the real time pollution data appeared alarming on Diwali night. Plus, the signs were present, as the Delhi government had already issued notices as right on time as October 12 when it said that the unabated burning of the crop residue in the neighboring states and firecrackers amid Diwali may seriously affect Delhi's air quality, which had already entered the "poor" zone.

The Supreme Court had banned the sale of crackers in the capital to understand the level of its impact on air quality. On Friday, the AQI read 316 where an AQI between 301 and 400 is considered "very poor" and people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are advised to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

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However, what is certainly a reason to cheer is that the noise pollution on Diwali this year showed a declining trend compared to 2016. Member secretary of Haryana Pollution Control Board (HPCB) S Narayanan, however, said that this Diwali the pollution level had witnessed a decrease compared to previous years but exact findings would be out in next 2-3 days after gathering and analyzing of complete data from across the state.

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