Farm fires continue to deteriorate Delhi's air quality

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (PTI) The national capital's air quality was recorded in 'severe' category on Sunday as stubble fires continued to be reported in Punjab and nearby regions.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) mobile app SAMEER, Delhi's overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 426 which falls in the 'severe' category.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said the situation was unlikely to improve unless a drastic reduction takes place in stubble fire counts.

'Surface winds have become calm, which were moderate so far, and are forecasted to stay low in magnitude for the next two days. This is the major factor due to which no quick recovery is expected unless a drastic reduction in fire counts takes place,' SAFAR said.

According to SAFAR, stubble fire counts over Punjab, Haryana, UP, Uttarakhand and neighbouring areas stood high at 3,780 on Saturday and its share in PM 2.5 in Delhi's air was estimated as 29 per cent for Sunday.

It was estimated as 32 per cent for Saturday.

SAFAR stated the air quality was likely to marginally deteriorate and stay at the 'severe' to the higher end of 'very poor' category for the next two days. An AQI between zero 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'.

Out of 35 monitoring stations in Delhi, 31 recorded 'severe' AQI. The only stations with AQI in the 'very poor' category were Lodhi Road at 333, NSIT Dwarka at 377 and Pusa at 374.

The data for North Campus was not available.

NCR area also recorded 'severe' AQI with Gurgaon at 434, Ghaziabad at 456, Noida 428 and Greater Noida at 440.

Farm fire count stood at 4,528 on Friday, the highest of this season, with central government's Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi stating that the city's air quality is likely to remain 'severe' on Diwali as well.

The AQI was recorded at 427 on Saturday evening.

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.

Last year, the contribution of stubble burning to Delhi's pollution had peaked to 44 per cent on November 1, according to SAFAR data. PTI AG AAR