Delhi's air quality 'severe', likely to remain so on Diwali
New Delhi: The national Capital's air quality was recorded in the "severe" category on Saturday morning as farmers in Punjab and nearby regions continued to set their fields on fire to clear crop residue.
The Central government's Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the city's air quality is likely to remain "severe" on Diwali as well.
Experts said while meteorological conditions were "moderately" favourable for dispersion of pollutants, a "very high" number of farm fires in Punjab was the primary reason for "severe" air quality.
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi's overall air quality index (AQI) was 443 on Saturday morning.
PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR stood at 486 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m3) at 9 am, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. V K Soni, head of IMD's environment monitoring research centre, said: "A very large number of farm fires over Punjab is the primary reason for the severe air quality in the region."
SAFAR said the share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 pollution was estimated at 21 per cent on Friday. It was 42 per cent on Thursday, the maximum so far this season.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that there is no need for a ban on the use of firecrackers as no part of the state falls in the National Capital Region (NCR).
It said Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) have been installed in the non-attainment cities of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Patiala, Jalandhar and Khanna and the Air Quality Index (AQI) remained in the range of good in August, satisfactory in September and moderate in October.
The NGT was earlier informed that air pollution is an important co-factor increasing the risk of mortality from COVID-19 as per latest research.
However, firecrackers have been banned in Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, West Bengal and Rajasthan.