Home/ News / India/  Delhi's air could soon turn 'severe' as share of stubble burning rises to 22%

Delhi witnessed an eye-stinging layer of smog as the air quality in the national capital worsening and inching closer to the 'severe zone. The incidents of stubble burning are accounting for 22 percent of the PM 2.5 pollution in the city. 

Delhi Air Quality Index(AQI) dropped to 392(very poor) on Monday compared to 352 on Sunday. The AQI was 354 on Thursday, 271 on Wednesday, 302 on Tuesday and 312 on the day of Diwali. 

Skymet Weather Vice President (meteorology and climate change) Mahesh Palawat said Low wind speed allowed pollutants to accumulate in the air and the situation might deteriorate to "severe" on Tuesday morning. 

He added humidity may increase and the wind speed may reduce further from November 4 under the influence of a strong Western Disturbance leading to another episode of smog. Palawat says the transport-level wind direction and speed is favourable for transport of smoke from stubble burning

The proportion of farm fires in the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi on Monday was 22%, according to SAFAR, a forecasting organisation under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The highest percentage this year so far was 26% on Sunday, and it was only 21% on Saturday. 

As per data by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee between November 1 and November 15, when stubble burning reaches its peak, people in the capital breathe the worst air. 

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".

According to a report by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), there were 2,131 farm fires reported in Punjab this year- the highest this season. Previously, there had been 1,761 on Sunday, 1,898 on Saturday, 2,067 on Friday, and 1,111 on Thursday. While on Monday,70 and 20 incidences, respectively, of stubble burning in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai blamed the central government for rising cases of stubble burning claiming that if the centre had supported the Punjab government's "mega plan" to provide cash incentive to farmers for not burning crop residue. 

In accordance with Stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan GRAP, the Central Government's Air Quality Panel on Saturday ordered authorities to prohibit construction and demolition work in Delhi-NCR, with the exception of essential projects 

With inputs from PTI

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Updated: 31 Oct 2022, 10:42 PM IST
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