Air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region has worsened over the last few days due to farmers burning stubble in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, ANI reported. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, the Air Quality Index in Delhi on Saturday morning stood at 699, which is above the hazardous or severe level.
At 3.30 pm, Noida recorded an AQI of 323, Dhirpur 319, Pitampura 313, Mathura Road 312, and Delhi University 308 – all of which falls in the “very poor” category.
An Air Quality Index reading up to 50 is considered “good” and up to 100 is considered “satisfactory”. A reading between 101 and 200 is considered “moderate”, while the air quality is considered “poor” if the reading is between 201 and 300, and “very poor” if it is in the 301-400 range. A reading between 401 and 500 is ranked “severe” on the index, which means the air is dangerously filled with pollutants.
On Friday, Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain brought to light instances of stubble burning along the Delhi-Chandigarh National Highway. Uploading photographs on Twitter, the minister said that the Delhi government has again requested the Centre and the state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to look for long-term solutions.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal echoed Hussain’s remarks and said that the Centre had not taken any concrete action despite several follow-ups and requests. “Farmers are again helpless. The entire region, including Delhi, will again become [a] gas chamber,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. “People will again face difficulty in breathing. This is criminal.”
Meanwhile, the Centre on October 15 is expected to launch an air pollution prediction system in Delhi, reported The Economic Times. The Air Quality Early Warning System will predict the air quality two days in advance. In due course of time, the system will be expanded to the National Capital Region and other cities as well.
“The system, developed under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, will be handed over to the Central Pollution Control Board for dissemination of air quality information to all stakeholders and general public through web-based dissemination tools,” said India Meteorological Department chief KJ Ramesh.
Meanwhile, the air quality in Mumbai declined for the second consecutive day on Saturday. While Navi Mumbai recorded an Air Quality Index of 331 on Saturday afternoon, Bandra Kurla Complex recorded 330 and Andheri 317, all of them falling in the “very poor” category. pollution is likely to worsen over the coming days.