On November 25, the air quality of Delhi once again plunged to ‘very poor’, a day after it was in the ‘poor’ category. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall AQI of the national capital at 7 am on November 25 was 350. We would like to highlight that AQIs between 301-400 are classified as ‘very poor’, and prolonged exposure to this air could lead to respiratory illness. Now, the latest forecast from US space agency NASA, reveals that the situation is going to get only worse. Since the onset of November, toxic pollutants have engulfed the national capital region and are choking the residents. And vast smoke plumes are going to add to the adversity.
See it here : https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/149086/a-shot-of-smoke-for-delhi
What Do NASA’s Satellite Images Reveal?
Underlining the severity of the situation, NASA released a set of satellite images, which depicted that large amount of plumes are gushing towards Delhi. The images showcased a massive ‘river of smoke’, originating from Punjab and Haryana due to the stubble burning, advancing towards the national capital. Similar crop burning activities in northern Pakistan have also been credited for the smoke coming towards Delhi. The VIIRS, till November 16, has recorded more than 74,000 fire hotspots in Punjab.
NASA also pointed out that this year’s lingering monsoon spell played a crucial role in curbing the spike in pollution levels, at the start of the month.
Satellite images of November 12 also highlighted another factor, which goes unnoticed, for the smoke plumes in the land-locked capital region. It is the dust arriving from the Thar Desert to the west.
Winter Season Adds On!
The arrival of the winter months and the stubble burning activity carried out by farmers is probably one of the worst coincidences. The winter season adds up to the pollution woes of Delhi. Due to the weather factors like, drop in mercury levels and lack of winds, the pollutants get trapped in the atmosphere for a longer period.
The combined impact of all the pollution sources and the weather conditions during this time, makes Delhi’s air quality hazardous.