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Air quality continues to remain 'poor'

Air quality continues to remain poor
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New Delhi: The national Capital's air quality was recorded in the "poor" category on Saturday and the share of stubble burning in the city's PM2.5 pollution stood at 19 per cent, according to a central government agency.

The share of stubble burning was 18 per cent on Friday, around one per cent on Wednesday and around 3 per cent on Tuesday, Monday and Sunday.

The city recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 286. It was 239 on Friday and 315 on Thursday, the worst since February 12 when the AQI was 320. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

Winds were blowing from the northwest, bringing pollutants from farm fires, according to an India Meteorological Department official.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the farm fire count around Haryana, Punjab and its nearby regions across the International Border on Saturday was 882.

"Since transport-level wind direction is favourable for intrusion, stubble contribution in PM2.5 is around 19 per cent on Saturday," it said.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the ventilation index — a product of mixing depth and average wind speed — was 10,000 metre square per second on Saturday — favourable for dispersion of pollutants. Mixing depth is the vertical height in which pollutants are suspended in the air. It reduces on cold days with calm wind speed.

A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second, with average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavourable for dispersal of pollutants.

The impact of stubble burning on the national capital's air quality is likely to "increase significantly" by Monday, the Ministry of Earth Sciences' Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said.

Punjab and Haryana have recorded more incidents of stubble burning this season so far compared to last year, largely due to early harvesting of paddy and unavailability of farm labour due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Saturday.

According to the Punjab Pollution Control Board, the state has recorded 4,585 farm fires this season so far compared to 1,631 such incidents during the corresponding period last year.

Haryana has also recorded an increase in farm fires — from around 1,200 incidents till October 16 last year to 2,016 this year.

Meanwhile, SDMC has decided to adopt strategy of zero tolerance on air pollution which may take entire Delhi into its grip resulting in respiratory and other related diseases in the city. As per the instructions of the Commissioner patrolling teams in sufficient numbers have been constituted to take instant action against violators including erring government and related institutions. The teams have been told to roam

round the clock on rotation basis. All zonal Deputy Commissioners are ensuring that there is is no leniency during this festive season.

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