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Household heating and cooking accounted for 40% of pollution in Delhi in December last year and January 2021, according to a new study.

A large number of homeless people burn firewood and waste to keep themselves warm in winters, the study added.

The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution said: "The contribution to PM 2.5 from the residential sector (including domestic cooking, space heating, water heating, and lighting) was as high as 40 per cent in December 2020 and January 2021".

The study added that the stubble-burning period and unfavourable meteorological conditions were primarily responsible for Delhi's worsening air quality in winters last year.

Vehicles contributed 14% of pollution and emissions from 11 coal-fired power plants accounted for just 7% to Delhi's PM2.5 pollution.

Delhi is estimated to have 1.5 lakh to two lakh homeless people. According to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, as of January 2021, as many as 319 shelter homes had been created with a boarding capacity of 19,116 people.

The study said the shelter homes can only accommodate 10% of the homeless population in Delhi. Therefore, the rest of the homeless people are forced to use firewood/biomass fires to keep themselves warm during winters. Waste is also burnt for warmth and disposal purposes, which also contributes significantly to the pollution in Delhi, the study added.

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