NASA Delhi pollution
He blamed stubble burning for the "severe" air quality and said the neighbouring states of Haryana aNASA

Defying the Supreme Court's firecracker deadline, people in Lucknow and other cities in Uttar Pradesh burst firecrackers past midnight, resulting in a 'very-poor' air quality index (AQI).

A thick blanket of smoke was noticed over the state capital and its neighbouring districts, as a result of the rampant burning of firecrackers.

Lucknow recorded a "very poor" air quality condition on Wednesday midnight, with PM 2.5 -- the presence of particles in the air with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres -- at 360. While in Muzaffarnagar, the PM 2.5 level was 419.

"This smoke is bad for people suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and particularly bad for children," Dr SK Katiyar, a renowned chest and respiratory diseases specialist, told PTI Thursday.

He said compared to last year, the pollution was worse this time.

Reports of the bursting of firecrackers past midnight were received from major cities including industrial town Kanpur and Muzaffarnagar in western UP, besides Lucknow. The Supreme Court had allowed people to burst firecrackers from 8-10 pm on Diwali.

A senior police official, when contacted, denied that the illegal firecrackers were sold in their area and emphasised that most of the crackers used were purchased from outside the state.

He said strict patrolling was carried out by the UP police to ensure that high-decibel and smoke-causing articles were not sold.