People bursting firecrackers as they celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Light, on Oct. 23, 2014, in New Delhi
Arun Sharma—Hindustan Times via Getty Images
By Rishi Iyengar
November 10, 2015

New Delhi’s notorious smog levels are about to get far worse, as they do around this time every year, as Indians gear up to celebrate Diwali (or Deepavali) — the annual festival of lights.

The Indian capital’s meteorological department warned citizens with heart and lung ailments to stay indoors this week because of “severe” pollution from the widespread bursting of firecrackers, which is customary during the festival, according to the Press Trust of India.

“There is enough moisture in the air and atmospheric holding capacity is quite high for particles emitting from firecrackers,” said Gufran Beig of the government-run agency System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The haze will be particularly bad on Nov. 12 and 13, with the concentration of pollution-related particles — PM2.5 and PM10 — projected to increase by 148% and 170% respectively.

New Delhi is already one of the world’s most-polluted cities but gets markedly worse during Diwali, which primarily signifies the triumph of good over evil.

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