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Delhi needs to make sustained efforts to check pollution from power plants and vehicles to prevent air quality from worsening further.
As the national capital continues to be wrapped in toxic air, experts say the worsening air quality of Delhi is not just a result of bursting crackers on Diwali and stubble burning by farmers. Delhi needs to make sustained efforts to check pollution from power plants and vehicles, a report said quoting experts.
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According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the air quality index (AQI) for Delhi on November 8 was as high as 432. It only improved from “severe” to “very poor'' on November 9 at 372.
An air quality index reading below 50 is considered safe. A reading between 51 and 100 is considered satisfactory, 101 and 200 is moderate, 201 and 300 is poor, and a reading between 301 and 400 is marked very poor. Anything above 401 is considered severe or hazardous.
When the winter season sets in, dust particles and pollutants are unable to move. Due to stagnant winds, these pollutants get locked in the air, resulting in smog. Every year, Delhi’s battle with smog worsens after Diwali and stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.
This year was no different. The levels of pollution surged after residents in the national capital violated a ban on bursting firecrackers and farmers continued to burn stubble in the adjoining areas, Bloomberg reported.
Pollution levels peaked last week with Delhi experiencing the “most toxic air quality” Diwali in the past five years.
However, experts say the city’s air quality had started worsening much before Diwali. Air quality hovered around 200-300 in the first week of October and dipped to 300-400 in the third week.
“Stubble burning in neighbouring states, firecrackers, etc. do add up to the city’s pollution, but they are not the major factors. Power plants in the vicinity of the capital, vehicular pollution and other various sources of pollution are present throughout the year,” Hemant Kaushal from Arun Duggal Centre of Excellence for Research in Climate Change and Air Pollution in IIT Delhi, told The Print.
He said Delhi needed a long-haul solution for the pollution problem, which is not limited to the winter season.
“We need to build infrastructure for accommodating electric vehicles, strengthening public transportation systems and focus on clean energy solutions to combat the bigger contributors, which requires efforts throughout the year,” Kaushal said.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: Nov 9, 2021 8:28 PM IST