Delhi’s air quality was on the brink of turning severe on Thursday morning due to stubble burning and weather conditions, PTI reported. The Air Quality Index in Delhi was recorded at 392, which falls in the “very poor” category and is just eight points from turning “severe”.
The System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said about 12% of pollution by PM2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) on Thursday was due to stubble burning.
According to Central Pollution Control Board data, PM2.5 was recorded at 342.6 in Anand Vihar, one of the most polluted areas in Delhi, and PM10 was recorded at 581.16, reported The Indian Express.
SAFAR said the air quality in the Delhi-National Capital Region is likely to deteriorate further over the next 10 days. “This is due to a western disturbance system in the north of India which is bringing moisture and a cyclonic system on the eastern side which is suppressing winds,” the agency said, according to The Indian Express.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan confirmed that air quality in Delhi would deteriorate in the coming days, ANI reported. “Green firecrackers have been introduced ahead of Diwali,” he said. “As of now, in the next few days, there is no chance of improvement in the air quality, but we are trying our best.”
SAFAR said increased burning of paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana, the direction of wind, along with Delhi-NCR’s pollution sources could lead to a spike in pollution. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that it is “wrong” on the part of the Punjab and Haryana governments to claim there is no stubble burning in their states, ANI reported.
“Satellite images show stubble burning, especially in Punjab,” he said. “I appeal that politicians should not give irresponsible statements, rather they should help to resolve the issue.”
The Central Pollution Control Board on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has created social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for citizens to lodge pollution-related complaints. The court directed the pollution authority to issue advertisements and publicise the accounts so that the citizens are aware of them.
The Delhi government informed the court that it has deregistered diesel vehicles more than 10 years old and petrol vehicles more than 15 years old in compliance with an earlier order, reported ANI. Radio and Frequency Identification Devices at 13 points in Delhi will also be reportedly installed to check the entry of commercial vehicles between November 20 and December 30.
On Tuesday, the air quality in Delhi fell to “severe” for the first time this season. The same day the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority said it might ban private vehicles from plying in Delhi if the air quality worsened.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government asked authorities of western districts, in and around the National Capital Region, to suspend construction activities between November 1 and 10 and shut industries using coal and biomass fuel between November 4 and November 10, PTI reported.
The state has asked industries to comply with Environment Pollution Control Authority guidelines. “All authorities are requested to bear in mind the seriousness of the issue and ensure strict implementation of the orders,” said Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Anup Chandra Pandey on Wednesday in a letter to district magistrates.
The letter was sent to Meerut, Saharanpur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Shamli district magistrates.
The government has also directed transport departments and the traffic police in these districts to step up checking of polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi and NCR districts during the period.