India which is one of the most polluted countries of the world recently saw a drop in air pollution levels after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown amidst coronavirus fears.
The lockdown meant all factories, markets, shops, and places of worship should be closed, most public transport suspended and construction work halted and citizens of the roads that lead to the drop.
People had become used to the clear blue skies, animals roaming freely in the streets and the sound of birds chirping – all a result of reduced human activity outdoors.
But, when PM Modi asked Indians to light candles, many misinterpreted it as a call for an early ‘Diwali’ and burst firecrackers.
Firecrackers during #9pm9minute?
On April 5, at 9 pm, Indians responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to light diyas and candles from their balconies and terraces to show solidarity during the 21-day total coronavirus lockdown.
While PM Modi had specifically asked for people to light candles and flashlights or mobile torches, many decided to take it one step further and burst firecrackers.
And yes this did affect the air quality.
The air quality which was mostly green (good) in most of the areas in New Delhi, turned yellow (moderate), and orange (poor) in no time.
The air quality in Anand Vihar (New Delhi) was 139 on 6 April 2020 (1 pm) which means it can cause breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases while in Rohini, it recorded an AQI of 198 at the same time.
In Noida, sector 125 too, the air quality was moderate. (121) while in Gurugram, the AQI was 223 in Loni, Ghaziabad which is in the poor category.
Several such instances were reported on social media from cities like Delhi.
“The air pollution due to bursting of crackers is temporary and will subside in a day. The deteriorated air quality will come back to normal soon,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, who heads the regional meteorological center at the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
Due to western disturbance, there will be a thunderstorm tomorrow, which will further clear up the air, Srivastava added.