CPCB expects dip in pollution levels in Delhi

Traffic moves on roads amid hazy weather conditions, in New Delhi, Thursday morning, Oct. 15, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Officials at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have said that they are expecting a decrease in instances of stubble burning, a major contributor to Delhi’s winter pollution.

October has seen a rise in instances of stubble burning, where farmers in Punjab and Haryana burn paddy straw, compared to last year. Its contribution to the Delhi National Capital Region’s overall pollution burden has grown from 6% on Wednesday to 20% on Thursday, according to data from SAFAR, a regional weather forecast service by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

“There has been early harvesting this year. Pollution worsens when burning combines with adverse weather and we are hoping that because of early harvesting these two don’t coincide as much when winter progresses,” said CPCB Chairman Shiv Das Meena at a press briefing on Friday.

The ventilation index, a metric that indicates how efficiently pollutants are dispersed in the atmosphere, was lower this October compared to the last, says Member-Secretary of CPCB Prashant Gargava. There were also fewer rainy days in September and October so far, compared to last year. “These factors have contributed to the spike in stubble burning related pollution this year and the expectation is that along with measures taken to discourage famers from burning and less acreage under non-basmati rice, there should hopefully be some reduction in severe pollution.”

The number of days with ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ air quality had declined from 246 in 2016 to 183 in 2019. Last year, stubble burning — at its peak — contributed to 44% of the pollution in Delhi and on average ranged from 13-25% during October and November, the months that saw the most burning.

Other sources

Road dust, construction and demolition waste and biomass burning were other major sources of pollution in the region though there weren’t fresh estimates on their relative contribution.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 10:58:01 AM |

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