Delhi's Air Quality To Plummet After "Year's Highest Stubble Burning"

For Thursday and Friday, the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) issued a revised forecast, when pollution levels are likely to rise to 335 and 301, both falling under the "very poor" category. "Though the air quality became very poor on the day after Diwali".

On Friday, over 400 heavy and medium goods vehicles were returned from Delhi borders due to a ban on their entry as the city's air quality remained severe for the second consecutive day on Friday.

Similarly, PM10 levels - slightly larger but coarser particles - were recorded at 169 µg/m3 against a safe limit of 100 µg/m3. "It declined sharply because of the hazardous smoke caused by the rampant burning of firecrackers", said Dr Radha Goyal, deputy director, Indian Pollution Control Association.

"The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi and National Capital Region between 8 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday was recorded around 150-160".

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by worldwide standards.

When questioned about the air quality readings, West Bengal Pollution Control Board chairman Kalyan Rudra refused to draw any conclusion about the improvement or deterioration in the air pollution during Kali Puja and Diwali on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 86 per cent. Pollution fluctuates over days and outdoor pollution from vehicles, irresponsible construction activity, stubble burning, etc, contributes to health problems, just as indoor pollution involving dusting, lighting candles or agarbattis (incense sticks), he says, adding that there really is no more time for never-ending discussions.

Neither is it in the BJP's interests, or in the interest of the main opposition Congress party, to help Kejriwal's New Delhi government.

The order of using "green crackers" with low noise and air pollution also went up in flames as crackers with deafening bangs were a common occurrence.

Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta said the violation of the deadline was not unexpected as one can not expect an overnight change in people's behaviour because of a court order.

The court said the police should ensure that there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station of the area would be held personally liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court.

Violations of the Supreme Court order were reported from the areas comprising IP Extension, Mayur Vihar's Phase I, II and Extension in east Delhi, Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi, Lutyens Delhi, Dwarka in west Delhi and most of the sectors in Noida.

  • Joey Payne