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Air quality worsens in Delhi as stubble burning increases in Haryana and Punjab

The Central Pollution Control Board's data showed the national capital recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 268.
 

Air quality worsens in Delhi as stubble burning increases in Haryana and Punjab-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Oct 31, 2021, 2:32 PM IST
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The air quality of Delhi has marginally deteriorated for the past one week with the impact of low temperatures, slow winds and an increase in stubble burning instances in Punjab and Haryana. The weather forecasters have also said that the city is headed for a further deterioration in pollution levels in the coming days.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality forecast agency SAFAR, over 1,800 farm fires were observed in the northwest region of Delhi on Friday. The Central Pollution Control Board's data showed the national capital recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 268.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe".

The minimum temperature dipped to 14 degrees Celsius, two notches below normal, on Friday. It is the lowest minimum temperature recorded this season. “Calm wind causes accumulation of pollutants and low temperature affects the dispersion of pollutants. North-westerly winds are favourable for transport of pollutants released from stubble burning to Delhi,” said a Met official.

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“The temperatures are dropping and the local wind speeds are also low, which is not conducive for pollution dispersion. Currently, Delhi is also receiving winds from the northwest direction, where states such as Punjab and Haryana are reporting a rise in stubble fires. All this combined together will adversely impact Delhi’s air,” a senior Met official had said earlier.

According to SAFAR, the highest farm fires (1,572) were recorded this season on October 15. The number of farm fires again crossed 1,500 on October 22 but it remained below 1,000 since October 23. The highest overall AQI this season was recorded at 298 on October 17.

SAFAR in its bulletin on Friday said, “AQI is likely to deteriorate further during the day until early morning of Saturday and then likely to improve marginally from Saturday evening onwards but will remain in lower end of ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’ due to slightly improved ventilation coefficient. The transport level winds and speed are highly favourable (north-westerly) for downward transport to Delhi and the percentage share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 has increased to 20% on Friday (fire count 1,112).”

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