INDIA. Delhi: Delhi has had a major pollution problem for years now, with the Indian capital appearing among the top five most polluted cities in the world between 2017 and 2021.
On October 26, an Indian news agency reported that Delhi had recorded its cleanest day post-Diwali since 2015.
According to this report, the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi on Diwali was 312 while it was 302 the day after, both numbers ranging between 301-400 (seen as ‘very poor’).
The fact that Delhi’s post-Diwali pollution levels were not worse this year was a great sign of progress, which attracted the attention of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who posted two parallel graphs showing the spikes and dips in pollution levels in Delhi from 2016-2022.
He captioned his tweet as: “These two graphs show how pollution has been decreasing over the years due to constant efforts of Delhiites.”
Following the report, netizens took to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, to circulate images of a clear Delhi landscape post-Diwali. One of them, which was circulated the most, was a traffic stop lined with cars, supposedly shot at Dhaula Kuan, located at the southern end of Delhi, underneath clear, blue skies.
One such post claimed, “This is the latest scene of South Delhi’s Dhaula Kuan Road on the cleanest Diwali day.”
Soon the image began to circulate widely with the same claim attached to it. Consequently, many were led to believe that Delhi had indeed witnessed one of its cleanest days after Diwali, despite the numbers saying that the AQI was still ‘very poor’ after the Diwali celebrations this year.
However, a thorough fact-checking done by the Transcontinental Times discovered that the particular image was nearly a month old and not a recent one taken on Diwali or the day after in 2022.
Upon a deep investigation into the origins of this picture blowing up on Twitter, we discovered it was used in several news reports from August. On August 29, the Economic Times had used this photo in an article with the headline: “Dhaula Kuan-Delhi airport road beautification project to be finished in 3 months: LG”, proving that this image was indeed taken at Dhaula Kuan.
After digging deeper into the matter using keywords like ‘Dhaula Kuan’ and ‘beautification’, our fact-checking team was able to track two news websites that published similar images with similar captions on the same day. On August 11, these pictures were published as news reports with headlines on two websites named “socialnews.xyz” and “prokerala.com”.
The photo at “socialnews.xyz” was captioned: “New Delhi: Traffic moves slow at Dhaula Kuan area due to Raksha Bandhan festival #Gallery”. The photo was credited to photojournalist Wasim Sarvar, belonging to the news agency IANS. He has not yet furnished details of the date or location of the photo.
Upon a closer view and parallel cross-checking between the similar photos found on these two websites with the viral photo, we realised that they are the same.
If the photo is identical and was posted by both “socialnews.xyz” and “prokerala.com” on August 11, 2022, then the picture can’t be a visual of a post-Diwali photo of 2022.
Therefore, it can be easily ascertained that the viral photo is old and is not taken on the day of Diwali or even the day after this year.
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