Delhi: Up in smoke! farm fire share in PM2.5 nears 10%

Delhi: 15 Oct, 2021 (Times of India)


NEW DELHI: Delhi’s air quality deteriorated marginally on Thursday and touched the higher-end of the ‘moderate’ category. AQI of the capital was 182 and it may reach ‘poor’ category on Friday. About 10% contribution in PM2.5 over Delhi from biomass burning was predicted on Thursday.


The Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, which comes under the Union ministry of earth sciences, said that winds were favourable for transport of smoke from biomass burning. It said crop residue burning fire points observed on Wednesday over Haryana and Punjab were 91 and 132, respectively.

VK Soni, head, environment and research centre, IMD, said: “Due to north-westerly winds, the pollutants released from stubble burning are being transported to Delhi. Calm wind is being recorded during night hours causing accumulation of pollutants. Delhi’s air quality may remain in the higher end of ‘moderate’ category or may slip to ‘poor’ category on Friday.”
He added the air quality of the capital was expected to improve from the evening of October 16 due to easterly wind and rain activity. IMD has predicted very light rain during the evening of October 16 and light to moderate rain on October 17. Light showers are likely on October 18.

LS Kurinji, programme associate, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, said, “Over 200 farm fires were reported in Punjab and Haryana combined on Wednesday. The weather forecast indicates that the winds will be predominantly coming from the northwest direction of Delhi on October 14 and 15, which would favour the movement of smoke in the downwind. However, rain expected over the weekend in Delhi-NCR would help in clearing the particulates and improving the air quality in the capital.”

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR)’s founder project director Gufran Beig said, “The impact of stubble burning is still marginal as local winds are high and lead pollutant is still PM10 indicating contribution of local dust and nearby biomass burning only. The impact of north India’s stubble burning will soon increase if fire counts continue to increase by the same speed, which are less than last year so far.”