New Delhi: On Sunday, there was a slight respite from the deadly smog that had gripped the city on Saturday. But levels at most stations continued to be in “severe” category as per Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality index. Experts said the reason for levels coming down marginally is a change in the weather system.

While the minimum temperature had increased, a slight breeze helped in dissipating some of the smog. But next week around Diwali air quality will once again worsen drastically because of crackers and traffic.

Experts have advised that those vulnerable—elderly, children and ill—should minimise their exposure outdoors from now on.

“People often give colourful sparklers to children, but they usually emit heavy metals that are used to give them a colour. It’s also impossible to distinguish which are the high sulphur crackers since there is no labelling on the materials used and their pollution potential. But people should check the decibel levels on crackers they buy,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) clean air campaign.

According to IMD, a western disturbance is forming due to which wind speed may pick up over Delhi on November 8 and 9. “Rain is unlikely, but pollutants may get lifted up. On Diwali or after that conditions may become calm again,” said an IMD official.

CSE has written to environment secretary, Delhi government on measures to curb cracker-led air and noise pollution. Delhi can follow the West Bengal government’s petition to National Green Tribunal (NGT) to enforce 90Db limit as against the national standard of 125Db. If 125Db crackers are burst together, it can be similar to a jet engine. Another recommendation is to release real-time air quality data with health advisory during Diwali so that people realise the impact of crackers.

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Source: TOI-Delhi