Air pollution across the country reached high levels after this year’s Diwali celebrations took place on Wednesday, November 7. The capital New Delhi is experiencing a toxic haze as of November 8, despite a Supreme Court ban on the use of firecrackers. Air Quality Index measurements have been recorded as high as 574, which falls under the “severe” category, the highest level on a six-tier scale.
Authorities warn of potential health hazards associated with periods of high pollution, notably for certain vulnerable groups - e.g. children, seniors, pregnant women, and people suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues. Air pollution can also be harmful to cardiac health and increase risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly among high-risk individuals (e.g. those with preexisting heart conditions).
A worsening of the air quality is systematic during Diwali celebrations, due to the prevalent use of fireworks during the festival and ongoing agricultural fires.
Individuals should monitor the air quality situation, limit outdoor activity, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if experiencing breathing difficulties.