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40% Rise in Stubble Fires in Punjab, Haryana This Year to Blame for Delhi's 'Very Poor' Air Quality

Average air quality index (AQI) in Delhi, plummeted to 307 on Wednesday, going as low as 391 in some parts of the capital during the day. The major air pollutant during the day, PM 2.5, touched an alarming 270 µg/m³ during the day.

Fazil Khan | News18.com

Updated:October 18, 2019, 9:02 AM IST
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40% Rise in Stubble Fires in Punjab, Haryana This Year to Blame for Delhi's 'Very Poor' Air Quality
A farmer burns paddy waste stubble in a field. (Image: Reuters)

New Delhi: Nearly 40 percent spike in the number of stubble burning incidents has been registered Delhi’s neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab over the past one month, compared to the same period last year.

According to an analysis of NASA's satellite data by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), as many as 2,662 open fires were recorded in Haryana and Punjab between September 20 and October 15. In 2018, 1,906 fires were detected during the same time-span.

Stubble Burning Incidents, September 20 - October 15, 2018

via GIPHY

Stubble Burning Incidents, September 20 - October 15, 2019

via GIPHY

This year, more than two-thirds of the stubble burning incidents in these states have been recorded in the past one week alone due to the late withdrawal of monsoon, which led to a delay in rice harvesting in several areas.

Meanwhile, with the rising incidents of stubble burning in the neighbouring states, Delhi’s air quality on October 16 dropped to ‘very poor’ category for the first time since July 11, as per data from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Average air quality index (AQI) in Delhi, plummeted to 307 on Wednesday, going as low as 391 in some parts of the capital during the day.

The major air pollutant during the day, PM 2.5, touched an alarming 270 µg/m³ during the day.

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’.

AQI in adjoining areas such as Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad was also recorded at 326, 300, 287, and 339, respectively.

With air quality deteriorating, the Delhi government on Wednesday released satellite images from NASA to show stubble burning incidents in Haryana and Punjab. Further, the government also banned the use of electric generator sets run on Diesel, petrol, and kerosene of all capacities in the national capital, except those used for ‘essential services’. These include: medical purposes, elevators/escalators, railway services, Delhi Metro services and at the Airport & Inter State Bus Terminus.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also announced in September that the ‘Odd-Even’ scheme would be re-introduced between November 4-15 to curb air pollution in the city, which usually witnesses a spike at this time of the year due to multiple reasons including crop burning, and bursting of firecrackers during Diwali celebrations.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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