AQI to turn ‘very poor’ by Sunday, Kejriwal blames stubble burningUpdated: Oct 11, 2019 21:40 IST
Air quality in the national capital slipped further in the ‘poor’ category on Friday, with low surface winds combined with effects from crop residue burning in neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab aiding the spike.
Pollution monitoring agencies have predicted that the air quality will deteriorate further and may plunge to ‘very poor’ by Sunday.
According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) till 4pm was 216 in the ‘poor’ category. This is a slight deterioration from Thursday, when the AQI was 211. On Thursday, Delhi’s air quality had for the first time slipped into the ‘poor’ category this season, after the city breathing in three-months of good air.
Thursday’s pollution spike came a day after Delhi saw its cleanest post-Dussehra air in five years.
Previously, Delhi had experienced poor levels of air pollution on July 14 when the AQI was recorded at 235.
AQI in the range of 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said smoke from burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states was causing a spike in pollution levels in Delhi and hoped that all agencies and institutions, including Punjab and Haryana governments, the Supreme Court and the NGT, will take concrete steps to counterr the problem.
“Pollution in the city reduced by 25% in the earlier part of the year. But the burning of stubble in neighbouring states in October and November is resulting in ‘severe’ pollution. The smoke has started affecting Delhi’s air quality. We have been taking every possible step to curb the bad air,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Also, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has issued directions for ban on diesel generator (GD) sets in the city under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which will come into force from October 15.
“We have directed the concerned agencies to ensure a ban on use of diesel generator sets run on diesel, petrol or kerosene, with effect from October 15. The ban will continue up to March 15, 2020 or till further orders,” stated the note issued by the DPCC.
The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had also predicted a rise in the pollution levels in the city from October 12, and ordered the GRAP --- set of emergency measures to combat ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ levels of pollution --- will come into force from October 15.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a unit of the Union ministry of earth sciences, in its forecast said the incidents of burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana have significantly increased during the past 24 hours and the magnitude will now start influencing Delhi’s air quality.
“So far the effect from burning of stubble in Punjab and Haryana in Delhi is just around 2%. But, it is expected to rise with the increase in the number of farm fires. However, the dip in air quality will be determined by weather conditions such as wind speed and upper wind direction. As per the forecast, AQI is likely to deteriorate from October 13 and may fall into ‘very poor’ category,” a statement issued by SAFAR stated.
On Friday, the average wind speed was 1.9 kmph , blowing from northwest, which is not favourable for spreading of pollutants.
According to data from the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the number of fires spotted in states of Haryana and Punjab recorded a significant spike over the last two days.
Weather officials said the immediate change in air quality is due to climatic conditions typical of a post-monsoon, pre-winter period. As the monsoon withdraws, an anti-cyclone wind pattern has formed over Rajasthan, which results in stagnant weather conditions such as low wind speed that does not allow pollutants to disperse.
First Published: Oct 11, 2019 21:40 IST