Due to the changing wind directions, stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and neighbouring border regions is expected to contribute 26 per cent to the air pollution in Delhi-NCR on Friday, as against the share of six per cent a day earlier.
Earlier this week, the wind was not favourable for carrying smoke emanating from the burning fields to the capital city and hence the contribution of stubble burning to the air pollution here varied from one per cent on Wednesday to three per cent each for three days prior to that.
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The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, a Central government agency, stated that 583 crop fires were recorded on Thursday. “Transport wind direction is favourable and an increase in stubble contribution in PM2.5 estimated is around 26 per cent for today.”
On the brighter side, a marginal improvement in surface wind speed in national capital region has led to improved ventilation and AQI. Delhi’s air quality index dipped to 235 at 1.00 p.m., which falls in the ‘poor’ category, as against very poor on Thursday.
On Thursday, a war-of-words broke out between Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Delhi Chief Minister over how much crop burning versus local factors like biomass burning, garbage dumping, unpaved roads, dust, construction and demolition activities in Delhi adds to the menace.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s neighbouring regions — Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida — also recorded ‘poor’ quality of air. Greater Noida’s air is currently the most polluted amongst all.
Nationwide, as many as three cities have very poor quality of air. Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar tops the charts, followed by Baghpat and Haryana’s Kurukshetra. Maharashtra’s Chandrapur city recorded the cleanest air in the country.
The air pollution reaches a crescendo every winter in Delhi and surrounding regions, when pollution from stubble burning combines with the suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere to form a thick blanket of noxious smog.
According to Dr. Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head of Institute of Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Max Hospital, “This year, with the ongoing corona pandemic, the situation in India is expected to be worse. The studies have shown that not only will the incidences of Covid-19 infections will be higher if the quality of air becomes poor, but will also result in higher fatality rate, an increase by eight per cent for every one micron/m3 increase in PM2.5 particles.” (IANS)