Short-term degradation of air quality during major firework events in Delhi, India

  • Shivani
  • Ranu Gadi
  • Mohit Saxena
  • Sudhir Kumar Sharma
  • Tuhin Kumar Mandal
Original Paper


The effect of firework events on air quality was assessed from ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) collected during the Diwali period in two consecutive years, i.e., November 2015 and October 2016. The extensive firework activities led to the short-term degradation of air quality during the Diwali days. PM2.5 samples were chemically characterised for elements, water-soluble ionic species, organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC). Ba, K, Sr, S, Mg and Na showed significant increases in concentration on Diwali days compared to pre-Diwali days which revealed their association with firecrackers. Concentration of SO42−, NO3, Cl, K+ and NH4+ ions contributed to the increases in PM2.5 concentration on Diwali days. Higher OC/EC ratios indicated the formation of secondary organic carbon during the Diwali period. This study concludes that the high PM2.5 level during Diwali 2016 was a result of contribution from fireworks on the Diwali night, trans-regional movement of pollutants due to crop residue burning, low wind speed (0.15 m s−1), and high humidity. It was observed that short-term exposure to Diwali is plausible to generate 1.3% increase in non-carcinogenic hazard index due to elements Al and Ba during Diwali 2016, whereas no significant variation was observed for the carcinogenic risk due to Pb. However, in 2015, the increase in non-carcinogenic hazard index was appreciably lower as compared to 2016.



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Real-time Environmental Applications and Display System


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environment


Central Pollution Control Board


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Universal Time Coordinated


Total suspended particulate


Income Tax Office



The authors are grateful to Prof. Nupur Prakash, Vice Chancellor, IGDTUW, Delhi for her consistent guidance and inspiration. The work was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. First author also acknowledges the award of JRF from DST Research grant. The authors also wish to thank Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility (AIRF), JNU, New Delhi for providing EDXRF facilities. The authors gratefully acknowledge the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) for the provision of the HYSPLIT transport and dispersion model and/or READY website ( used in this publication.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for WomenNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.National Physical LaboratoryCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)New DelhiIndia

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