Stray cases of burning of firecrackers reported a day after Diwali

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Dutta, however, corroborated Rudra's statement saying the high air quality index was not exclusively due to bursting of firecrackers, but due to present weather conditions as well. While decibel levels were monitored on November 1, 7 and 9, the monitoring of ambient air quality levels is being done since October 31 and will continue till November 15.

The national capital woke up to a yet another smoggy morning on Friday with the air quality in the "severe" category.

In National capital Delhi, Thursday morning witnessed the worst air quality of the year. He also said people should have abided by the direction of the Supreme Court on bursting of firecrackers in the stipulated time frame of 8 pm to 10 pm.

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Also, the apex court had banned the sale of traditional crackers and allowed only "green crackers" in Delhi-NCR, but there was no clarity as to how many people could procure these, or the ones not containing the polluting barium salts. But traders say the Supreme Court order should have come earlier.

The PM 2.5 level was 97 µg/m3 (microgrammes per cubic metre) on Wednesday, against a safe limit of 60 µg/m3.

It had said that in case of any violation, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station of the area would be held personally liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court. An Air Quality Index reading between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is considered satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is severe or hazardous.

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They said they had been continuously patrolling the city to check for violations during Diwali festivities.

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. On Friday, the AQI was recorded at 421, which falls in the "severe" category, according to the the Central Pollution Control Board.

Elderly, children, and people with pre-existing conditions - such as asthma, lung disease, cardiovascular ailments, face greater risk from air pollution.

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Tiny particulate matter can cause major health problems. "Delhi has to be treated like a model, as it is the most polluted", stresses Aggarwal, former head of the Indian Medical Association, calling for guidelines on all combustible and polluting activity. Around this time previous year, he declared a public health crisis, shutting down schools for a week and told residents to remain indoors.

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