Trucks stopped from entering Delhi for three days from today

Representative image

Representative image

A municipal worker with her daughter leaves after sweeping the India Gate area as a thick lawyer of pollution haze hangs a day after Diwali festival, in New Delhi, India, on November 8, 2018. The overall AQI of the city was 11 times the permissable limit. Any reading over 100 is considered hazardous and a danger even to healthy people. There was a similar spike in air pollution levels in other major cities.

Delhi: Delhi-wallas, rejoice. Despite the massive focus on the national capital, the city has only the third worst air in north India (and also the most monitoring centres).

"Delhi should have been made cracker-free this Diwali", says Dr KK Aggarwal, senior consultant physician and cardiologist and a key voice on air pollution, who has been sending recorded public health messages on the dos and dont's on a bad air day. "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.

Activists complained that authorities had not enforced the regulations, amid complaints from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that the ban was deliberately targeted against Hindu festivals.

A man coughs despite wearing a mask a day after Diwali.

The police admitted that violations have been observed and it would take serious legal action against the people violating the Supreme Court order.

This year, the number of patients with severe lung problems has already gone up by up by 25 percent and is expected to increase further after Diwali, said Doctor Desh Deepak, a chest physician at government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

It also said the contribution to the PM2.5 pollution due to stubble emission was marginal.

Delhi has failed spectacularly in preventing the air quality from falling into the "severe-plus emergency" category the morning after Diwali. These particles are about 30 times finer than a human hair and can cause respiratory diseases and other ailments if inhaled.

"After 10pm, several of our patrol cars visited areas like Patliputra Colony, Kankarbagh and Rajendra Nagar from where regular bursting of crackers were reported even after 10pm", the SSP said.

This initiative will continue for a few days.

In 2016, Diwali festivities raised pollution levels to their highest in almost two decades - forcing the closure of schools and other emergency measures. Last month the World Health Organization said exposure to toxic air indoors and out kills some 600,000 children under the age of 15 each year worldwide.

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