Close to 50 lakh kilogrammes of firecrackers were burst in Delhi on Diwali despite a Supreme Court directive limiting the bursting of crackers to only two hours, according to a report by a research group.
That is the same amount of firecrackers burst last year.
It equates to 1,50,000 kg of mass of PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres).
Reacting to the report by Urban Emissions, Ritwick Dutta, environment lawyer, said the violation is not unexpected.
"One cannot expect an overnight change in people's behaviour because of a court order. But at least there is a recognition by the court of the harmful consequences of crackers and the gradual realisation by the public that using crackers is not acceptable any more," he said.
Partly as a result of smoke from crackers, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi jumped to 642, which falls in the "severe-plus emergency" category, according to the data by Centre-run SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research).
Delhi's air quality is expected to remain "severe" over the next two days as the smoke emitted by firecrackers has slowed down the process of pollutant dispersion, a report by a government-run agency said Thursday.
In a gross violation of a Supreme Court order, people in several cities burst firecrackers before and after the specified time period.
Loud bangs rent the air in New Delhi.
Over 7,900 kg of illegal firecrackers, including over 2,500 kg on Diwali, have been seized from various parts of the national capital since the Supreme Court ordered a ban on the sale of old crackers, the Delhi Police said on Thursday.
A total of 113 cases have been registered and 124 people arrested for violating the apex court's October 23 order, they said.
According to police, over 2,500 kg of illegal firecrackers were seized from various parts of the city on Diwali and 87 people arrested in connection with 72 cases registered in this regard.
"Delhi Police has seized 2,776 kg of illegal firecrackers from across Delhi on Diwali. Eighty-seven people have been arrested and 72 cases were registered in connection with the illegal sale of firecrackers," a senior police officer said.
Out of the 72 cases, eight cases were registered in southwest Delhi and 208 kg of firecrackers were seized.
Three cases were registered in east Delhi and 165 kg of firecrackers were seized. In the northeast, five cases were registered and 214.3 kg of firecrackers were seized while seven cases were filed in Shahdara and 176 kg of firecrackers were seized, the officer said.
In central Delhi, six cases were reported and three cases were registered in the north district of Delhi, he said.
According to police, eight cases were registered and 112 kg of firecrackers were seized from the northwest district. Four cases were filed in Rohini and subsequently, 794.5 kg of firecrackers were seized.
In the south district, four cases were filed and 100 kg of illegal firecrackers were seized, the senior officer said.
Similarly, in southeast district, 10 cases were registered and 278 kg of firecrackers were seized. In west Delhi, four cases were registered and 100 kg of illegal firecrackers were seized, he said.
Six cases were registered in outer Delhi and 212 kg of illegal firecrackers were registered. In Dwarka, 13 cases were registered and 417.6 kg of firecrackers were seized, police said.
Violations were also reported in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and other major cities.