New Delhi: Diwali pollution lowest in 5 years

New Delhi (IANS): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday hailed the people for bursting less firecrackers this Diwali and said pollution levels in the national capital were the lowest in five years.

"Pollution on Diwali has gone down and was the lowest in the last five years. But our target is to eradicate it," Kejriwal said.

He also appreciated people for their efforts to reduce pollution.

Speaking about the laser show organised by state government during Diwali, he said people had shown good response and the government was planning to organise it at more venues next year.

On Monday morning, PM 10 (particulate matter) in Delhi's air was at 476 in the severe category, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The SAFAR had predicted that the air quality would be touching severe levels on Monday morning, but the peak level of PM 2.5 would be the lowest in the past 3 years after 2015.

There are six AQI categories -- good-satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, and severe. Each of these categories is decided on the ambient concentration value of air pollutants and their likely health impacts.

On a question on an upcoming T20I cricket match, Kejriwal expressed his the hope that the pollution would not affect the India-Bangladesh match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday. Matches had been held at the stadium in similar conditions before this too, he added.

Accusing the BJP of instigating people to burst firecrakers on Diwali to increase air pollution in Delhi, the ruling AAP said that the saffron party has "a habit of" opposing everything that the Kejriwal government does.

But Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta hit back, saying the Aam Aadmi Party is making these claims to "distract" people from its failures to curb air pollution to a manageable level. Addressing a press conference, senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said BJP leaders should think about their families before bursting crackers.

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