According to the autonomous meteorological body set up under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, SAFAR, the overall Air Quality Index of Delhi at 8:15 am was recorded at 428, which falls under the "hazardous" category. The AQI was 281 at 7 pm.
The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals. The top court also allowed manufacture and sale of just "green crackers" which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals.
The court had asked the police to ensure that banned firecrackers were not sold and said in case of any violation, the station house officer (SHO) of the police station concerned would be held personally liable and it would amount to committing contempt of court.
"Despite widespread publicity of the Supreme Court's order by the district administration, some people were found violating the orders and a first information report has been registered against them under the Indian Penal Code's section 188 (disobedience to an order duly promulgated by public servant)", City Magistrate Shailendra Mishra said in a statement. Air pollution worsens in winter anyway, with the burning of crop residue in nearby rural areas, and the use of diesel generators among the factors at play.
Several places including Anand Vihar have recorded AQI at 999.
On Wednesday night Delhites largely defied a court order and set off an vast barrage of smoke-spewing firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali, sending pollution levels soaring. A "severe plus emergency" level AQI essentially means that even healthy people may suffer from respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. These indices measure the concentration of tiny poisonous particulate matter.
After a slight improvement on Diwali, Delhi's pollution level skyrockets to "severe" levels on Thursday midnight.
Each year, smoke from festival firecrackers significantly adds to pollution levels in Delhi and its satellite cities, resulting a haze that can linger for days as wind speeds drop in the cooler weather. Large swathes of India's northern states remained under dense smog that has shut hundreds of thousands of schools, disrupted air and railway services and forced residents to stay indoors.