Macro/Finance Group, NIPFP

Estimates of air pollution in Delhi from the burning of firecrackers during the festival of Diwali

Estimates of air pollution in Delhi from the burning of firecrackers during the festival of Diwali, Dhananjay Ghei and Renuka Sane. NIPFP Working paper 223, February 2018.

Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world, especially in the winter months from October - January. These months coincide with the religious festival of Diwali. It is argued that air quality gets worse in the aftermath of Diwali on account of firecrackers that get burned during the festival. We use hourly data on PM 2.5 particulate matter from 2013 to 2017 to estimate the Diwali effect on air quality in Delhi. We improve on existing work by using the event study technique as well as a difference-in-difference regression framework to estimate the Diwali effect on air quality. The results suggest that Diwali leads to a small, but statistically significant increase in air pollution. The effect is different across locations within Delhi. To our knowledge, this is the first causal estimate of the contribution of Diwali firecracker burning to air pollution.

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