At 40 per cent, stubble burning contribution in Delhi's pollution soars to season's high

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said 3,216 farm fires were spotted over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday.
Image of stubble burning used for representational purpose (Photo | PTI)
Image of stubble burning used for representational purpose (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution rose to 40 per cent on Sunday, the maximum so far this season, according to a central government air quality monitoring agency.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR, said 3,216 farm fires were spotted over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday. The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution was 40 per cent on Sunday, the maximum so far this season. It was 32 per cent on Saturday, 19 per cent on Friday and 36 per cent on Thursday, the second highest this season so far.

Last year, the stubble contribution to the national capital’s pollution had peaked to 44 per cent on November 1, according to SAFAR data. Satellite imagery showed a large, dense cluster of fire dots covering Punjab, parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.    

SAFAR said air quality has not improved much despite improved ventilation due to high stubble-related intrusion and trapping of pollutants during night time due to low wintertime boundary layer height.
“However, it has not deteriorated further despite favourable North-North-Westerly boundary level wind direction. The highly favourable conditions for fire-related intrusion in Delhi is expected to continue,” it said.

SAFAR predicted better ventilation for the next two days but said the AQI is likely to improve only marginally, depending on farm fires. It is set to deteriorate slightly on November 3, it said.

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