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Delhi's air quality worsens, Close to turning "severe"

Delhis air quality worsens, Close to turning severe

New Delhi: The capital city of India saw eye-stinging smog on Monday. The air quality is inching close to the "severe" zone. It worsened from 352 on Sunday to 392 (very poor) today.

Stubble burning accounts for 22% of Delhi's PM2.5 pollution. The average air quality index (AQI) was at 354 on Thursday, 271 on Wednesday, 302 on Tuesday, and 312 on Monday (Diwali). An AQI above 400 is considered severe. According to SAFAR, a forecasting agency under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, the share of farm fires in Delhi PM2.5 pollution stood at 22% on Monday. It was 26% on Sunday, the highest this year so far, and 21% on Saturday.

Mahesh Palawat, vice president (meteorology and climate change) of Skymet Weather, said low wind speed has allowed pollutants to accumulate in the air and this is causing the situation to deteriorate. He added that humidity may increase and wind speed may further decline from November 4 due to the influence of Western Disturbance. The transport-level wind direction and speed are favourable for the transport of smoke from stubble burning, he added.

According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, people in the capital breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15. This is when stubble burning peaks. Delhi records an average PM2.5 concentration of 285 micrograms per cubic metre in this period. PM 2.5 level from 61 to 120 is considered "moderate to poor". From 121 to 250 is "very poor" and 251 to 350 is "severe". Over 350, it is a "severe plus".

According to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), 2131 farm fires were reported in Punjab on Monday. This is the highest in the season. Environment Minister Gopal Rai said Punjab would have seen a decline in stubble burning if the Centre supported the state government's plans to provide a cash incentive to farmers.

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TAGS:Delhistubble burningDelhi air pollutionPunjab farms
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