With a thick haze over the city skyline indicating a sharp drop in air quality, the Delhi government on Wednesday said it was the result of massive burning of straw by farmers in neighbouring Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and not due to vehicular pollution.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit said her government would soon write to the union environment ministry to impress upon the states not to allow their farmers to resort to mass burning of paddy stubble.
Apprehending further drop in air quality, Dikshit, after a cabinet meeting which discussed the issue, appealed to the citizens not to burst firecrackers while celebrating Diwali next week.
"The haze has not been formed because of vehicular pollution in Delhi. Experts have found that burning of paddy straw in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana has caused it as the smoke has found its way to Delhi," Dikshit said.
The cabinet, expressing its concern over the "unprecedented smog cover", decided to seek the intervention of the central government.
The chief minister said the Delhi government would write to Haryana and Punjab governments, requesting immediate intervention.
"We will also write to the union urban development ministry to take up the issue with the two states as they are members of the National Capital Region Planning Board," Dikshit said.
The NCR Planning Board, which functions under the administrative control of the urban development ministry, was set up to take up projects for strengthening infrastructure in the NCR.
Officials said slow wind speed, low temperature and high humidity were the other reasons for the haze cover.
"These conditions appear to have led to high dust concentration and higher concentration of oxides of nitrogen as the pollutants are unable to disperse due to inversion phenomenon," they said.