(Eds: Adds details and incorporates related stories) New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) Delhi’s air pollution level dipped slightly on Friday to remain in the “very poor” category as authorities detected stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh for the first time this season after Punjab and Haryana, which they said may add to the pollution woes of the national capital.
IITM, an institute under the Earth Sciences Ministry, said the highest fire count was observed from the north-west region of India, which comprises Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and parts of UP.
As authorities warned that the air quality would severely deteriorate from next week, a citizen’s group shot off a letter to EPCA, suggesting additional steps that could be taken to curb pollution, which included putting in public domain emission levels from all industries in Delhi-NCR and urging employers to encourage office-goers to allow work from home till November 10.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation said around 1,582 challans were issued for violations in all zones under it. Deputy commissioners of 14 police districts in the national capital were directed to ensure no temporary licenses are issued for sale of firecrackers till the PESO-approved crackers are available in the market.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot Friday launched a trial run of an e-bus and said the Delhi government plans to float tenders for 1,000 electric buses by December so that the zero-emissions vehicles are rolled out in the next five to six months.
The overall Air Quality Index of the national capital was recorded at 370, which falls in the “very poor” category, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.
The PM2.5 level was recorded at 210. Fine particulates can be a matter of more serious health concern than PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres). As per the data by the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the PM10 level in Delhi stood at 334.
Wazirpur, Sonia Vihar and Ashok Vihar recorded “severe” quality air while 28 other areas recorded “very poor” air quality, according to CPCB data. Faridabad recorded an AQI of 406, which falls in the “severe” category, while Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida recorded “very poor” air quality.
An official said there is special focus on the regions recording “severe” air quality and teams deployed to monitor violations are conducting inspections at various such sites to check incidents of garbage or industrial waste burning.
Stubble burning incidents were recorded from Uttar Pradesh on Friday for the first time this season after Punjab and Haryana where such practice is rampant, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research said.
An official said that this is the first time this season that stubble burning was detected from Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) said fire counts in the northwestern past of India was highest so far on Thursday. “Contribution from biomass fire is likely to be marginal on Friday and further for the next two days. Because of poor dispersion and stagnant meteorological conditions, no significant improvement is likely for the next two days,” it said.
Authorities said the AQI of Delhi would remain in the upper range of the “very poor” category till November 5, and thereafter, it could see severe deterioration due to unfavourable meteorological conditions.
According to SAFAR, 9 per cent of PM2.5 pollution in Delhi is caused due to stubble burning.
There is a halt on all construction activities involving excavation. Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.
MyRightToBreathe, a citizen’s group, said Friday it has committed itself to behavioural change in people to help curb air pollution. In a statement, the group said it has sent a letter to the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), urging it take additional steps for curbing pollution level in the city.
The group has suggested to the EPCA to ask employers to encourage office-goers to allow “work from home” till November 10. It claimed that waste-to-energy system in the region is “not well regulated” and suggested its closure till November 10.
In a meeting held on Thursday, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik directed all DCPs to ensure that Supreme Court guidelines on pollution control are implemented fully.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.