Smoke rises as people burn crackers during Diwali celebrations, in Gurugram, on Wednesday. According to officials, Delhi recorded its worst air quality of the year the morning after Diwali, as pollution levels entered severe-plus emergency category due to the rampant bursting of toxic firecrackers.
November 5, 2018
pic.twitter.com/Fzp05avVum — NDTV (@ndtv) November 5, 2018
In the air: Delhi govt has another odd ideaThe Delhi government on Monday expressed its willingness to the Centre to bear the cost of aerial sprinkling of water in the national capital in order to help reduce air pollution. Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain wrote to Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan and said the state government was “ready to bear the cost”. Hussain urged Vardhan to ask the Civil Aviation Ministry to carry out the sprinkling through a helicopter or aircraft so as to help settle particulate matter suspended in the atmosphere.
On Wednesday, air quality at Ghaziabad (NCR) was worse than post-Diwali (recorded on October 20) level, and was described as severe by the Central Pollution Control Board. The AQI in Ghaziabad was 425 on Wednesday, as compared with 412 on October 20. Meanwhile, satellite images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations’ FIRMS (Fire Information for Resource Management System) Web Fire Mapper show stubble-burning reached an all-time high with both Punjab and Haryana marked in red (depicting fire). Stubble-burning was part of the pollution control agenda of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which a day before Diwali (October 19) implemented “very poor” and “severe” categories of its Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) — which includes more strict measures — to curb air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas. “It (stubble-burning) was an action point, but nothing much was done against stubble- burning as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is already involved,” EPCA member Usmaan Naseem told IANS. According to EPCA officials, state authorities (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) are supposed to keep a check on stubble-burning, as toxic smoke from such an action, along with weather conditions and wind speeds, impacts air quality in Delhi-NCR. The unabated stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana, estimated to be around 35 million tonnes, was banned by the tribunal in November 2015. However, due to lack of support from the respective governments, farmers continued to burn paddy straw even as states demanded more funds from the Centre to support their farmers against the menace. “Air pollution is set to increase. People will complain of heaviness in breathing towards morning and evening hours. The north-westerly winds from Punjab and Haryana are slowing down in Delhi, and this will continue for some days,” Mahesh Palawat, Director of private weather forecast agency Skymet, told IANS. (IANS) // ]]>