The world’s top three most polluted cities are all from India, where toxic air levels have been steadily deteriorating, after revellers freely burst firecrackers on Diwali despite a court restriction. New Delhi topped the chart with air quality index (AQI) recorded at 420.
The capital city was followed by Kolkata with recording the same AQI. India's business capital Mumbai came third in the list with AQI of 361.
In gross violation of a Supreme Court order, people in several cities burst firecrackers until at least midnight, two hours after the 10 pm deadline. Violations were also recorded in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other major cities.
The overall AQI on Thursday was recorded in the "severe plus emergency" category at 642 in Delhi, according to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data.
This year, Diwali day shows that the PM10 and PM2.5 values have increased in Delhi compared to 2017.
Last month, in a bid to control pollution, the Supreme Court allowed the use of "green" firecrackers for Diwali but only if they were let off between 8-10 pm. However, there were no "green" fireworks available for sale and many fireworks were let off before and after the designated two-hour period.
Top five cities in the most polluted list are from Indian sub-continent with Lahore, Pakistan, coming in at fourth, while Afghanistan's capital Kabul is at fifth position.
With inputs from agencies.
First Published: IST