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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Delhiites, brace: Air quality will again dip to emergency level by Thursday

Last week, the air quality improved marginally but last few days have witnessed a dip in air quality.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2019 16:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
People wearing masks amid heavy smog in New Delhi last week. The air quality dipped to hazardous 'severe plus' category.
People wearing masks amid heavy smog in New Delhi last week. The air quality dipped to hazardous 'severe plus' category.(PTI photo)
         

The air quality in Delhi that dipped to ‘severe’ category on Tuesday is likely to deteriorate further by Thursday and enter ‘severe plus’ zone, according to Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality early warning system for Delhi

“The air quality is likely… to deteriorate on November 13 and may reach in upper end of Severe category. The air quality is likely to deteriorate further on November 14 and may reach in Severe+ category,” their bulletin said.

The air in the Delhi-NCR region has become unbreatheable with pollution in northern India peaking due to smoke from agricultural fires despite imposition of pollution controls steps such as sprinkling of water on roads to settle dust, banning construction to avoid dust and odd-even vehicle rationing scheme.

Last week, the air quality improved marginally but last few days have witnessed a dip in air quality. Experts largely attributed this rise in pollution to the wind speed, which is low at the ground even as the north-westerlies brought in smoke from farm fires in neighbouring states, particularly Punjab.

The effective stubble fire count in Punjab and Haryana on Sunday was 1,846, according to estimates by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Union ministry of earth science’s weather and air quality forecasting centre. “Stubble plume intrusion is expected to increase,” it said. According to data from the government of Punjab, a total of 43,181 farm fire incidents have been reported in the state since September 23.

The Delhi government, meanwhile, continued its criticism of the governments of Punjab and Haryana for showing “lack of seriousness and political will” in addressing the problem of stubble burning. Delhi environment minister Kailash Gahlot said that he has written to the chief ministers of the two states, urging them to take “immediate action” to stop stubble burning incidents.