The air quality in the city deteriorated to the ‘severe’ category again on Thursday. The air quality index (AQI) of the Capital has been in the ‘severe’ level for five out of seven days after Deepavali, official data show.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai urged Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav to hold a meeting of all Environment Ministers of the neighbouring States on the issue of stubble burning.
“Why is it that they are avoiding calling a meeting with the State Governments when all scientific evidence suggests that stubble burning in these States is continuously contributing to the pollution around us? Hence, by calling this meeting as soon as possible, I hope the right measures will be taken to control the increasing pollution,” Mr. Rai said.
The Government also started a campaign against open burning on Thursday.
Air pollution of ‘severe’ level “affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases”, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The AQI is likely to stay in the ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ range in the next two days, authorities said.
The contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to PM2.5, a chief pollutant, in Delhi was 26% on Thursday and the number of active fires reduced to 3,914.
The AQI was 411 on Thursday, up from 372 on Wednesday, as per the CPCB’s 4 p.m. bulletin, which is the average of the past 24 hours. A higher value of AQI indicates more air pollution.
The city’s air quality entered the ‘severe’ level for the first time this winter on Friday with an AQI of 462, a day after Deepavali.
Several other cities in the National Capital Region such as Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad and towns in north India, including Agra, Hisar and Hapur, also faced ‘severe’ category air pollution on Thursday.
“Winds at transport level reduced today but there was no change in wind direction, so the air quality remained in the same category of ‘very poor’. It is likely to be in the ‘upper end of the very poor’ to ‘severe’ category in the next two days,” said Government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research).
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
Source: The Hindu