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Stubble burning leads to a 36% rise in PM 2.5 in Delhi: A wrap of Air Quality Status of Delhi

Winters are approaching and air quality is as lethal as ever before

Winters are approaching and we are likely to breathe poor quality air. Well, not poor but an air, which is declared in ‘severe category’ considering the pollutants it has. On Thursday, the Air Quality Index records a drop in air quality making it enter in the severe category for the first time since January this year. The stubble burning is considered as the major reason as it has lead to a 36% rise in PM 2.5 particles in Delhi; the central government’s air quality monitoring agency notified on Thursday.

The PTI reported, Ministry of Earth Science’s air quality monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the number of farm fires in neighbouring states stood at 2,912 on Wednesday, which was recorded as the highest this season. The coordination of farm fires, calm winds and low temperature gave ways to the accumulation of pollutants in the air and had led to its dropping in the severe category.

Although, on Friday, the air quality came back to poor quality as reported by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).


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Prior to this, the air quality in Delhi fell to “very poor” category since Monday after the Dussehra celebrations. The Central Pollution Control Board reports on the scale of 500, AQI was at 343 making it very poor.

As per the AQI range, AQI 0 – 50 is considered “good”, 51- 100 “satisfactory”, 101 – 200 “moderate”, 201 – 300 “poor”, 301 – 400 “very poor”, and 401 – 500 is considered “severe”. The particle concentration of 2.5 microns in diameter defines the major pollutants in the air and can reach deep into the lungs, causing cardiac problems, asthma and cancer.

On October 29, the Center dissolved 22 years old  Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority who was till not assigned to look after the air pollution concerns of Delhi and NCR region. In replacement to it, the Centre has started a permanent body called Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas which will look after the air pollution concerns of the Delhi region.

The new body will have at least six permanent members and will be led by the former or incumbent Secretary to the Government of India, or a Chief Secretary to a State government. In total, it will have 18 members to monitor air pollution, enforcement of laws and research and innovation.

Where winters are approaching, and we have already entered the festival season, during Diwali days, it is very likely that we will get to see the poor air quality in the Delhi and NCR region. This year, amid the COVID Crisis we are likely to find poor air quality as more lethal for health as ever before. Heavy smog is likely to be a part of this winter too, like any other winters. Where all of it is scary, it is very important that we think of being sustainable in our usage of the environment and try to use eco-friendly products on regular basis.

(With inputs from TOI, The Hindu, The Indian Express, Scroll and The Logical Indian)

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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