New Delhi: The air quality of New Delhi was recorded in the poor category on Sunday. Due to stubble burn, the pollution will increase significantly, according to a central government agency.
The national capital recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 275 at 8:30 am on Sunday. According to reports, the 24-hour average AQI on Saturday was 287. Then on Friday, it 239 and on Thursday, it shot up to 315 which was the seventh-largest worst since February.
Quality is considered ‘good’ when it ranges between 0 to 50, ‘satisfactory’ when it is between 51 and 100, moderate when 101 and 200.
When AQI ranges between 201 and 300 it is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
During the daytime, the wind blows from the northwest which brings pollutants along with them from farm fires. At night, calm winds and the low temperature allow the accumulation of the pollutants, as according to an official from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’, air quality monitor- System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) the farm fire count at Punjab, Haryana and other border regions was 882 on Saturday.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ Air Quality System said that the ventilation index, a product of mixing depth and average wind speed is expected to reach 12,500 metre square per second on Sunday, which will be favourable for dispersion of pollutants.
However, it is said the impact of stubble burning on the air quality of Delhi will increase from Monday significantly.
The states of Punjab and Haryana have recorded more incidents of stubble burning this year, as compared to 2019. According to officials, it is mainly due to early harvesting of paddy and unavailability of farm labour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, the Central Pollution Board (CPCB) that meteorological conditions in Delhi have been “extremely unfavourable” since September.
CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava has been hoping that this year due to less area under the non-basmati paddy cultivation, the number of stubble burning incidents will be fewer this year as compared to 2019.
Due to high-silica content in the non-basmati paddy straws are considered useless which is the reason why farmers burn them.
Gargava also said that this year, due to early harvesting of paddy, stubble burning peak might not coincide with the peak of adverse meteorological conditions.