Air pollution in Delhi, which has already reached alarming levels, is set to worsen after Diwali. Data taken from six places in the Capital between October 22 and November 2 show air pollution at frightening levels even before November 13.
Carbon monoxide levels were between 1.2 mg/m3 and 2.5 mg/m3 on Diwali last year, and between 0.87 mg/m3 and 9.75 mg/m3 in 2010.
The festival of lights is still 11 days away this year but the pollutant has already reached 7.3 mg/m3 in the city’s air, trapped by the blanket of smog that has enveloped the Capital.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says the levels of air pollution have already gone back to the pre-CNG days. It says ‘killer particles’ such as PM 2.5 – PM is short for particulate matter or suspended pollutants in the air such as soot, smoke, smog, dust, allergens etc – exceed the permissible level by 4-6 times at several places.
Prolonged exposure to these pollutants can cause asthma, lung diseases, chronic bronchitis, damage the heart and, in severe cases, cause lung cancer.