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'Crop burning not the lone factor responsible for smog alert'

Crop burning not the lone factor responsible for smog alert
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NEW DELHI: Stubble burning in neighbouring states may not be the only issue behind the worsening of the Capital's air quality, as metrological conditions may have played a big role here, say experts.
"Meteorological conditions were such that all the local pollutants got trapped and lingered in the air. These four parameters had a direct impact on the pollution," said D Saha, head of the air quality laboratory of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Another key reason for the haze in the Capital is poor wind speed.
While Delhi requires a minimum wind speed of 5 metres per second (m/s) to disperse trapped pollutants, the wind speed dropped to less than 1 m/s on Wednesday.
"Currently, Delhi and its neighbouring regions are seeing almost still conditions at the ground level. But in the upper atmosphere, there are two wind masses – one from Punjab, which is bringing pollutants from crop burning and the other from eastern Uttar Pradesh, which is bringing moisture," said A Sudhakar, member secretary of CPCB.
Adding to Sudhakar's observation, Sunita Narain of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority said that cities and administrations need to implement solutions and take bold decisions to reduce emissions.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) observed that closing of schools might prove counter-productive to children, as in the absence of regular classes, they may get more involved in outdoor activities.
"Closed schools may trigger greater exposure, as children take to spending their free time playing outdoors," said Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE's executive director-research and advocacy.
However, green bodies like Greenpeace India have focused on prior implementation of Graded Response Action plan to avoid this kind of situation.
"GRAP should not be reactionary, but should be precautionary, to reduce emission load as well as to give lead time to take emergency measures," said Sunil Dahiya, a senior campaigner of Greenpeace India.
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