Delhi's air quality in 'moderate' category, may improve in next 2 days

Delhi's air quality in 'moderate' category, may improve in next 2 days
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New Delhi: Delhi's air quality was recorded in the "moderate" category on Friday and it is likely to improve over the next two days due to strong winds and rainfall, authorities said.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' forecast body SAFAR, Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 162, which is in the "moderate" category.

"Delhi's AQI is in the moderate category. As per SAFAR methodology, effective fire counts are 894 and its share is 4 per cent in Delhi's PM2.5 as transport level winds are not favourable for intrusion," it said.

In the presence of local dry weather and westerly winds, the local dust emission will lead to high PM10 levels, the SAFAR added.

"Additional dust transport from Rajasthan desert areas due to higher winds and dry conditions are contributing to PM10 enhancement," it said.

The number of farm fires also increased significantly with 1,288 such incidents recorded on Friday, according to data shared by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). Punjab recorded 1,111 fires, Haryana 140, Madhya Pradesh 29, Rajasthan five and Uttar Pradesh three. Delhi did not have a single incident of farm fire.

However, the SAFAR said the impact of fire emission is almost negligible due to faster dispersion and the wind direction.

The IARI said the number of stubble-burning events had decreased from 969 on October 20 to 765 on October 21 in the six study states.

A total of 6,502 burning events were detected in these states between September 15 and October 21, which were distributed as 4,327, 1,368, 631, zero, 40 and 136 in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh respectively.

Overall, the total number of burning events recorded in the six states is 52.5 per cent less than in 2020 till date.

Punjab recorded a 59.9-per cent reduction, Haryana recorded a three-per cent increase, Uttar Pradesh recorded a 13.4-per cent increase, Delhi recorded a 100-per cent reduction, Rajasthan recorded a 88.9-per cent reduction and Madhya Pradesh recorded a 78.8-per cent reduction in the current season, as compared to 2020.

Stubble burning in the neighbouring states significantly contributes to Delhi's air pollution.

The active fire events due to paddy residue burning were monitored using satellite remote sensing, following the new "Standard Protocol for Estimation of Crop Residue Burning Fire Events using Satellite Data".

Punjab and Haryana attract attention during the paddy harvesting season in October-November.

Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato. It is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.