The Delhi government on Tuesday shared satellite images from NASA to show crop burning in several areas close to the city as the air quality slipped to the very unhealthy category this week.
On Wednesday morning the AQI was at 245 in Anand Vihar.
In its release, the Delhi government said, “Delhi government is releasing the latest image from NASA, which is showing large scale crop residue burning in states surrounding Delhi... Wind pattern forecast and variation in concentration of particulate matter charts are also being released.”
Diesel generation sets, barring those used for emergency situations, were banned in Delhi as part of the Graded Action Response Plan (GRAP), reported PTI.
While GRAP had been implement even last year, it had failed to make a significant difference in the air pollution levels in the city.
Even while GRAP was being implemented, experts had said that this alone would not help the situation. “Air pollution is not a winter problem anymore. There is no reason for GRAP to come to place for two days when the air quality is really poor through the year,” said Navdha Malhotra, senior campaigner at Help Delhi Breathe had toldHuffpost India in 2018.
Experts have often accused the states of playing blame game over crop burning, without reaching an actual solution.
The Delhi government has often shifted blamed to neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana. Kejriwal said on Monday, “Smoke from crop stubble burning in neighboring states has started reaching Delhi and our air quality has started deteriorating from good to moderate to poor. It has been widely reported that the smoke coming to Delhi today is due to the burning of stubble in Karnal, Haryana.”
He said that the air quality in the city had ‘good’ all in the last few months, and the smoke coming from outside was making it worse.
The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday took note of the worsening air quality and asked Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to depute a person each to report daily on air pollution due to stubble burning.
According to data from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the state had recorded 435 incidents of stubble burning till October 11 last year. This year, the figure has shot up to 630, PTI reported.
In a letter to Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardha, the Delhi government urged to share SAFAR’s technical expertise so that the city administration can take immediate corrective measures to curb air pollution, PTI said.
The report said that Delhi’s Environment Minister Kailash Gehlot stressed in his letter that stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states during November has “always contributed significantly to higher PM2.5 levels in Delhi”.
The assertion came a day after the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority said that local sources of pollution in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are the primary reasons for poor air quality that plagues the national capital every winter.
Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking cost compensation of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy to motivate farmers against burning of paddy residue in open fields.
(With PTI inputs)