India celebrates the Hindu festival of Diwali with attention to pollution levels

New Delhi, Nov 12 (EFE).- Hundreds of millions of people celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali this Sunday in India, with traditional chants in the streets and enormous mantles of lights that decorate the facades of houses, while the authorities do not They lose sight of the high levels of air pollution.

“I wish you all a happy Diwali! May this special festival bring joy, prosperity and wonderful health to everyone’s lives,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated today on the social network X, formerly Twitter.

The festival marks the mythical triumph of the god Ram against the demon Ravana on the current island of Sri Lanka and the return of the deity home after spending fourteen years in exile, for which the inhabitants of the subcontinent illuminate the way with lights and candles. back.

Thus, the more than 2.2 million earthen lamps that were lit last night in the city of Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, marked a new Guinness record for the town, which broke its own record achieved the previous year of million and a half lit candles.

During this Sunday, family and friends visit each other and exchange gifts, in a festival that serves to begin the Hindu New Year, and whose entry into the capital is marked, as usual, by high levels of air pollution.

However, the rains that New Delhi experienced in the last two days managed to reduce pollution from “severe” to “poor”, with concentrations of PM 2.5 particles, the most harmful to health, being recorded this morning of up to 75 micrograms per meter cubic of air, according to the Swiss company IQAir.

A figure much lower than what it had been recording in recent weeks, when several of the meters in the capital exceeded 400 micrograms per cubic meter of air of PM 2.5, which led to the closure of schools, the prohibition of non-essential construction and the entry of diesel trucks.

Despite this improvement, the concentration continues to far exceed the recommendations established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which considers daily exposure to more than 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air of these particles dangerous.

To tackle the high levels of air pollution that New Delhi usually experiences at this time, when the arrival of winter and the decrease in winds prevent the dispersion of polluting agents, the authorities have vetoed the launching of firecrackers and fireworks for years. , which contributed to creating a thick blanket of toxic fog in the capital in the following days.

A prohibition that, however, did not prevent several of these small explosions from being heard in the streets today, although in a much smaller number than on previous occasions.

The burning of rice stubble in the states neighboring the capital is another practice that contributes to increasing pollution levels, which is why the Supreme Court of India ordered regional officials to take action earlier this week. to stop it.EFE



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