New Delhi’s air quality slips into ‘severe’ category

PTI Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 12, 2019 Published on November 12, 2019

A man uses his handkerchief to cover his face as he walks on a road on a smoggy morning in New Delhi. (File photo)   -  REUTERS

SAFAR has predicted that the air quality is likely to improve by November 14.

An envelope of haze surrounded the India's capital city of New Delhi, as the pollution levels slipped yet again to ‘severe’ category, after a brief respite.

On Tuesday morning, the Central Pollution Control Board recorded an air quality index value of 419. 

System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) through satellite imagery, as on November 10, counted at least 1,846 incidences of stubble burning in the northwestern regions of Punjab and Haryana. The pollutants make their way to Delhi through northwesterly wind flow, leading to a spike in the particulate matter of the city's air. 

To add to this, the odd-even scheme of the Delhi government is on a two-day break on November 11 and 12, due to Guru Nanak Jayanti, which is a holy festival of the Sikhs. The scheme will be in force until November 15. 

Last year’s SAFAR data shows that stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana continued until November 27, and on November 10, it had reached a similar peak, as compared to last year’s count. 

SAFAR states, "Stubble plume intrusion is expected to increase, and a decrease in surface wind speed over the Delhi region is forecasted for the next two days. In view of this, share of biomass in Delhi's air quality is simulated to be 25 per cent tomorrow, if present fire trend is assumed.”

A share of 25 per cent pollution is the highest peak observed, in the share of stubble burning contributing to the noxious air being breathed by Delhites.

According to last year’s data, upto 2,000 stubble burning incidences were recorded on November 15, and if the trend is anything to go by, a similar number could be recorded this year too. 

To add to the woes, SAFAR has said that there is a western disturbance due to a cyclonic circulation over Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining north Pakistan and under its influence, no rainfall is expected in the Delhi region, which could otherwise possibly have helped in clearing off the pollutants accumulated due to stubble burning. 

SAFAR has further predicted that the air quality is likely to deteriorate to ‘severe’ category for next two days and improvement towards ‘very poor’ category is predicted only by November 14.

Published on November 12, 2019
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