Summer crop burning in Punjab, Haryana won’t affect Delhi, say weather experts
Met officials explained that the city has been experiencing southeasterly winds because of a cyclonic circulation over Haryana in the past few days. As these winds are coming from the southeasterly direction, they are first sweeping across Delhi before going towards Haryana and Punjab, thus negating any chances of pollution from crop burning.Updated: May 05, 2017 00:04 IST
Southeasterly winds sweeping across Delhi have come as a saviour for the Capital, blocking the entry of pollutants caused by summer crop burning in Punjab and Haryana into the city.
Even though NASA satellites have captured images of massive summer crop residue burning in Punjab and Haryana over the past few days, experts said that it shouldn’t be of much worry to Delhi, as present wind patterns won’t allow the pollutants to converge over the city.
Innumerable red dots appearing over Haryana and Punjab, as seen in the US space agency’s Fire Mapper, on Thursday set alarm bells ringing and brought back memories of a smog-filled 2016 that made Delhi one of the most polluted cities in the world.
“But now the wind patterns are such that the pollutants won’t be able to settle over Delhi. There is barely any reason to worry,” said a senior official of the regional weather forecasting centre.
Met officials explained that the city has been experiencing southeasterly winds because of a cyclonic circulation over Haryana in the past few days. As these winds are coming from the southeasterly direction, they are first sweeping across Delhi before going towards Haryana and Punjab, thus negating any chances of pollution from crop burning.
“The winds are flowing in the opposite direction. There is no reason to worry,” said D Saha, head of the air laboratory at Central Pollution Control Board.
Once the southeasterly wind circulation fades, northwesterly winds are likely to follow. But they would be strong enough to disperse the pollutants further east saving Delhi from another ordeal. At the most they could bring in some dust.
“As of now the Air Quality Index of Delhi is moderate. The present air pattern is such that the crop residue burning in the states of Punjab and Haryana won’t affect the capital much. We expect the AQI to remain in the moderate level over the next two days at least,” said Gurfan Beig, project-director of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Met officials explained that air pollution increases during winter because of several factors, such as low wind speed and low temperature, among others.
“If cyclones develop over the Bay of Bengal during that time of the year, easterly winds start blowing which further hinders the passage of northwesterly winds. It is then that the pollutants converge over Delhi. In 2016 at least three cyclones – Kyant, Nada and Vardah - developed over the Bay of Bengal between October and December,” said a senior official of the met department.
Environment activist Vikrant Tongad who first moved the PIL against crop burning in 2012 said that not just Punjab and Haryana, but crop residue burning had started over some places in western Uttar Pradesh. Last week a FIR was lodged against a farmer in Greater Noida for burning crop residue.