A day after millions celebrated Diwali across the country, pollution levels in Delhi and its neighbouring areas soared as people defied the ban on firecrackers.
The air quality in the national capital plunged to severe category, worsening the pollution caused by burning farm waste in neighbouring states.
The average AQI in Delhi at 8am stood at 468.
Doctors and scientists say that short term exposures to high levels of PM 2.5 can cause severe health problems including worse coronavirus infections.
It can also worsen blood pressure and asthma.
Almost all the areas in the city logged PM 2.5 levels above 400 with many regions nearing the alarming 500-mark.
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