NEW DELHI: The national capital’s pollution levels saw the steepest spike in the first week of November with a three-day-long smog episode since 2019, as per a report prepared by the Delhi government’s environment department.
According to officials, the report was submitted during the “emergency” review meeting of the Delhi government with all the concerned departments on Tuesday. “The intensity of the post-Diwali spike this year was much severe than the smog episodes observed last year and the one in 2019.
This was mainly because the ban on firecrackers this year was violated on a large-scale, as compared to last year when covid restrictions were still in effect. Besides, another major contribution was of the smoke from stubble fires, which peaked around November 4-5,” said a senior official, who didn’t wish to be named.
Also, the official added, that since Diwali was in the first week of November (on November 4) this year, with the base pollution already being high because of traffic and the festive rush, the additional emissions contributed majorly to the severity of the spike.
Last year Diwali fell on November 14 while in 2019 it was observed on October 27. Both of these in the last week of October and the second week of November fell at a time when stubble burning is either picking up or is in the last leg and hence the contribution of fumes was lesser.
This year crop stubble burning started late because of delayed rains that shifted the peak burning activity to the first week of November, co-inciding with Diwali. The report also showed that most of the 13 major hotspots in the city went deep red between November 4 and November 8. These include Jahangirpuri, Wazirpur, Mundka, Bawana, Punjabi Bagh, ITO, Lodhi Road, Rohini and Mandir Marg, among others.
In grip of season’s first smog episode
NEW DELHI: The first severe smog episode has hit Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) and is expected to last for another two days, green think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Wednesday. Even though the seasonal smog in Delhi is intense, the average daily contribution of smoke from farm fires from the middle of October to November 8 has been the lowest in last four years, it said. “Predictably, the season’s first episode has been triggered by the combined effect of unfavourable weather conditions (cool and calm winds and inversion), stubble burning and firecrackers,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE. Compared to the first smog episode of previous four years, the current smog has matched the duration of the first smog of 2018 and 2020 season — both lasted six days. If conditions don’t improve, it might overtake the 2019 smog that lasted eight days.