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Delhi suffers toxic smog hangover after Diwali firework frenzy

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Air pollution in New Delhi hit hazardous levels Thursday after a night of free-for-all Diwali fireworks, despite Supreme Court efforts to curb the smog-fuelling partying, the Daily Mail reported.

Major monuments including the India Gate and Red Fort were hidden by a toxic haze. Commuters donned masks as visibility on major roads was reduced to barely 50 metres (160 feet).

Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival of the year, when firecrackers are traditionally let off.

Ambient air quality in what the World Health Organisation has said is the world's most polluted major city touched 595 on Thursday morning, according to the US embassy in Delhi which independently monitors pollution levels.

Any reading over 300 is considered hazardous and a danger even to healthy people.

India's Supreme Court ruled last month that only environmentally friendly fireworks -- that emit less smoke and soot -- can be sold in Delhi, in a bid to cut the smog that has scarred the city's international reputation.

The court also said firecrackers could only be set off between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.In 2016, Diwali festivities in Delhi raised pollution levels to their highest in nearly two decades -- forcing the closure of schools and other emergency measures.

Last month the WHO said exposure to toxic air indoors and out kills some 600,000 children under the age of 15 each year.

But the capital's 20 million residents turned a deaf ear to the ruling. Crackers and rockets reverberated around city neighbourhoods well after midnight.

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