Delhi

Smoke from Bhalswa adds to Delhi’s pollution woes

breathless:Heavy smoke billows from Bhalswa landfill causing pollution. Experts say that pollution will spike as the temperature goes down and the wind slows.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma  

Delhiites are in for another rough winter when it comes to air pollution, said experts as the air quality in the Capital started dipping this past week.

Toxic smoke from agricultural fires in neighbouring States added to the sources of pollution within Delhi on Saturday, when pollution ranged from severe to moderate as per the National Air Quality Index (NAQI).

Crossing safe limits?

As of 6 p.m. on Saturday, the NAQI showed that the level of PM 2.5 peaked at more than six times the safe level of 60 micrograms per cubic metre at Anand Vihar with 382 mg/cubic metre.

The level of PM10 at Anand Vihar peaked at five times the standard of 100 mg/cubic metre, reaching 500 mg/cubic metre as of 6 p.m. Of the seven monitoring stations that are part of the NAQI, one had an AQI of severe, two of very poor, three of poor and one of moderate as of 5 p.m.

The burning of biomass in the region, and the fact that sources of pollution - including industries, had remained the same since last winter contributed to the poor air quality, said Sunil Dahiya, a campaigner with Greenpeace India.

“Pollution will spike as the temperature goes down and the wind slows. Delhi is headed for a bad spell again,” said Mr. Dahiya.

Engulfing residential area

One of the pollution sources in Delhi was on full display on Saturday. As the wind picked up, smoke from the landfill fires at Bhalswa engulfed the residential areas near the garbage dump in north-west Delhi. While the fires have been raging on and off for years, locals said the frequency of the blaze has increased in the past few months, making it difficult to breathe.

‘Fire never stops’

“The fire never stops, it only becomes less when it rains. The problem is worse during the summer as the methane gets ignited. Right now, the situation is so bad that people in a 3-km radius can’t stand outside,” said Ajeet Singh Yadav, Bhalswa ward councillor.

‘Civic body is trying’

According to Mr. Yadav, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which operates the overflowing landfill, “did not have any permanent solutions”, but was trying to prevent the methane gas from catching fire by dumping construction debris on the garbage.

The 40-acre landfill surpassed its capacity years ago, but the corporation has been unable to shut it for lack of an alternative.



Right now, the situation is so bad that people in a

3-km radius can’t stand outside





While fires have been raging on and off for years, locals say the frequency has gone up in the past months




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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 6:48:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/Smoke-from-Bhalswa-adds-to-Delhi%E2%80%99s-pollution-woes/article16072377.ece

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