In a recent report by the Swiss group IQAir, Delhi has claimed the unenviable title of being the most polluted city in the world, with an alarming Air Quality Index (AQI) of 430. Even though the Bombay High Court had initially allowed a limited window of firecracker use from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Supreme Court later imposed a blanket ban on fireworks across all states.
Notably, Delhi is not alone in facing this dire situation. Two other Indian cities, Kolkata and Mumbai, also find themselves among the world’s top 10 most polluted cities. Kolkata secured the fourth position with an AQI of 196, while Mumbai ranked ninth with an AQI of 156. According to SAFAR-India, various areas in these cities reported distressing AQI levels, with Borivali at 307, Kalanagar at 312, and Malad at 309. Chembur recorded an AQI of 334, while Worli fared slightly better with an AQI of 134.
Vivek Chattopadhyaya, the Principal Programme Manager at the Air Pollution Control Cell of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), expressed concern about the deteriorating air quality following Diwali celebrations and called for the implementation of stringent control measures across the city. He stressed that these measures are essential to combat the escalating problem.
The impact of high AQI levels on health is significant. An AQI range of 400-500 is extremely hazardous, particularly for individuals with pre-existing health conditions, while a range of 150-200 brings discomfort to those with asthma, lung problems, and heart conditions. An AQI level between 0-50 is considered good.
It is imperative for Delhi and other affected cities to address this alarming air pollution crisis promptly through comprehensive measures to protect the health and well-being of their residents.