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Stubble burning accounted for 6% of Delhi's pollution on Thursday: SAFAR

The share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM 2.5 concentration was 6 per cent on Thursday, according to a central government agency

Delhi | air pollution | Stubble burning

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Most farmers settle for the easy and almost zero-cost option — of putting the straw on fire to reduce it to ashes. This takes little time, involves no cost for the farmer but is environmentally hazardous

The share of in Delhi's PM 2.5 concentration was 6 per cent on Thursday, according to a central government agency.

It was only around one per cent on Wednesday and around 3 per cent on Tuesday, Monday and Sunday, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR.

PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter which can penetrate deeply into lungs, impairing their function, and even the bloodstream.

A layer of smoky haze lingered over Delhi-NCR on Thursday with air quality in the region hitting 'very poor' levels, even as stricter anti-measures, including a ban on electricity generators, came into force under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Delhi's overall AQI was recorded in the very poor category. The calm and variable surface wind condition continues and the AQI is likely to remain very poor on Friday, it said.

According to SAFAR data, the contribution of farm fires to Delhi's PM 2.5 concentration was around 6 per cent on Thursday.

An increase was observed in incidents around Haryana, Punjab, and neighbouring border regions on Wednesday. The farm fire count was 740, it said.

The wind direction is partly favourable for transport of smoke from farm fires and "hence, an increase in contribution in Delhi's PM 2.5 is expected", SAFAR said.

NASA's satellite imagery also showed a large cluster of farm fires near Amritsar, Patiala, Tarn Taran and Firozpur in Punjab, and Ambala and Rajpura in Haryana.

Earlier in the day, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar asserted that only 4 per cent in is due to and rest are local factors, prompting a sharp response from the government.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, Staying in denial will not help. If stubble burning causes only 4% pollution, then why has pollution suddenly increased last fortnight? Air was clean before that. Same story every year.

"There's no massive jump in any local source of pollution in last few days to cause this spike?" he said.

Later, a spokesperson of the Union Environment Ministry clarified that Javadekar was referring to the contribution of stubble burning only for this year, which is 4 per cent till now. Last year, it was much higher.

The ministry also tweeted, Share of stubble burning changes every day. Last year, between 08 Oct-09 Dec, the share of Stubble burning in #AirPollution in (as per SAFAR data), was greater than15% on six days, while on a single day it was greater than 40%.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, October 15 2020. 17:59 IST