- Thick smog in Delhi, parts of north India morning after Diwali
- Pollutants as high as 14 to 16 times the safe limit in Delhi
- Smoke from firecrackers affects visibility, air quality rating 'severe'
Data from the central pollution monitoring agency showed that concentrations of Particulate Matter or PM 10 (coarser pollutants) was over 1,600 micrograms per cubic metre compared to a safe level of 100 at around 2 am in Delhi's Anand Vihar. PM 2.5, a standard measure of air quality, was as much as 14 times the safe limit.
These particles can cause respiratory diseases if one is subjected to prolonged exposure to unsafe levels. Seven areas in the national capital region featured among the 10 most polluted places in the country, while Kanpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh also recorded severe pollution.
Experts had warned that pollution during this year's Diwali was expected to be worse than the last two years because of a combination of adverse factors like slow wind speed and moisture in the air, a major hindrance in the dispersion of suspended pollutants.
Around 6 lakh children under age 5 die every year - more than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined - from diseases caused by or exacerbated by outdoor and indoor air pollution, UNICEF said.