New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) said that air pollution in national capital is expected to peak from November 1 as toxic fumes from the stubble-burning regions of Punjab and Haryana could gush in due to a change in direction of wind.
Air pollution in Delhi and nearby states increases particularly due to burning of paddy straw during October and November and wheat straw during April in Punjab and Haryana. Recently, NASA had released images showing rampant stubble burning activity in the two states. On its official website, it had stated that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana has increased significantly over the past 10 days in and near Amritsar, Ambala, Karnal, Sirsa and Hisar.
To keep a check on all pollution causing factors, the Central Pollution Control Board is likely to implement an emergency action plan on Monday. Named as Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the emergency plan will outline stringent actions that must be implemented as per the air quality of the city.
On Thursday, EPCA held a meeting to how measures to control ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ air pollution listed under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) are being implemented. “We need to be more careful from November 1 onwards. It is because the period between November 1 and November 15 would be the toughest period. Crop burning will be at its peak, we have Diwali celebrations (November 7), and winter is approaching,” Hindustan Times quoted EPCA member Sunita Narain as saying.
To curb pollution levels around Diwali, the Supreme Court on Tuesday only allowed the use of “less-polluting” firecrackers.
In November 2016, Delhi’s air quality had plunged, as the toxic smoke of the Diwali fireworks and the hostile weather conditions, trapped the pollutants, which in turn shrouded the city, severely affecting even visibility.
Anurag Agarwal, a scientist with the Delhi-based CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology had said that the situation could very well have been like Londons Great Smog of 1952, which had caused at least 4,000 deaths.
Last year also, the national capital was enveloped by a thick haze after the air quality remained ‘severe’ for a week.