Hindus across the world are celebrating Diwali. The five-day festival of lights is one of the most popular holidays in India. The five days include cleaning the house, buying new furnishings and exchanging gifts with loved ones. Thursday, happens to be the main day of the festivities, when the faithful pray to the Hindu goddess of wealth.
On Thursday night, people across the city burst firecrackers, despite a ban by the government. India’s capital, Delhi, woke up to grey skies as air quality dipped to hazardous levels following the festival of Dewali.
India has the world’s worst air pollution. Home to 22 of the 30 most polluted cities on Earth, the toxic air is estimated to kill more than one million people each year, according to experts.
A recent study shows that 480 million people in India faced the most extreme levels of air pollution in the World. Already, pollution in the capital, New Delhi, has risen to its worst this season. The air turns toxic especially in winter when farmers burn crop stubble. Fireworks during Dewali, only worsens the air quality, as low wind speeds trap the pollutants in the lower atmosphere.
A thick layer of smog blanketed the city on Friday morning, as people complained of itchy throats and watery eyes.
The sale and bursting of firecrackers this year was banned by the government, in a bid to curb pollution levels. But as it looks, people ignored the directive as they celebrated Dewali by setting firecrackers.