Scattered rainfall brings down dust pollution level in Delhi
Scattered rainfall over the national capital significantly brought down the dust pollution level, keeping the city's air quality index in the 'good' category at 82, authorities said on Tuesday.
PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers and is inhalable into the lungs. These particles include dust, pollen and mold spores. The presence of western disturbance has led to scattered rainfall over north India and low biomass burning, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.
''This condition improved the AQI (air quality index) with low PM 2.5. With dry condition (no rain), and wind direction mainly from north-west, AQI will degrade to satisfactory for the next 72 hours for Delhi,'' it said, adding that the impact of stubble burning on the city's air quality was low.
PM2.5 are finer particulate matter which can even enter the bloodstream.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ''good'', 51 and 100 ''satisfactory'', 101 and 200 ''moderate'', 201 and 300 ''poor'', 301 and 400 ''very poor'', and 401 and 500 ''severe''.
According to data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), 562 farm fires were recorded collectively in six regions or ''study states'' with Punjab accounting for 496 farm fires, Haryana for 55, five each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and one in Madhya Pradesh, while no farm fire was recorded in Delhi. Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato. It is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.
On October 17, satellites detected 54 crop residue burning events of which 14 were in Punjab, 39 in Uttar Pradesh and one in Madhya Pradesh. The number of fires decreased from 741 on October 16 to 54 the next day, according to data for the six regions or study states.
However, IARI said that detection of stubble or crop residue burning by satellites was hampered due to clouds over all the study states. This was also corroborated by IITM-Pune's Decision Support System (DSS).
Total 4,206 stubble burning events were detected in the six states between September 15 and October 17, which are distributed as 2,446, 1027, 620, 29, 84 and zero in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi respectively. Overall, the total burning events recorded in the six states are 56.8 per cent less than in 2020 till date, IARI said.
It said that Punjab recorded 67.1 per cent reduction, Haryana recorded 5.8 per cent reduction, Uttar Pradesh recorded 36.3 per cent increase, Delhi recorded 100 per cent reduction, Rajasthan recorded 89.5 per cent reduction and Madhya Pradesh recorded 84.2 per cent reduction, in the current season than in 2020.
The air quality in the national capital was in the very poor category on Sunday but the stubble burning contribution to Delhi's air came down by two per cent, authorities said.
Rainfall in the capital on October 17 and 18 significantly reduced air pollution and improved the AQI to 'good' category.
Stubble burning in the neighbouring states significantly contributes to the air pollution in Delhi.
The active fire events due to rice residue burning were monitored using satellite remote sensing, following the new ''Standard Protocol for Estimation of Crop Residue Burning Fire Events using Satellite Data''.
Punjab had recorded 1.02 lakh incidents of stubble burning in 2016. The number decreased to 67,079 in 2017; 59,684 in 2018 and 50,738 in 2019 from October 1 to November 30. The state logged 79,093 such incidents last year, according to the IARI.
Haryana saw 15,686 farm fires in 2016; 13,085 in 2017; 9,225 in 2018; 6,364 in 2019 and 5,678 in 2020.
Punjab and Haryana attract attention during the paddy harvesting season in October and November.
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