Change in wind direction with monsoon withdrawal along with calm local winds led to the deterioration of air quality as AQI dipped to 222 points Saturday.
For three months between July and September, Delhi’s air quality remained in the satisfactory and moderate range. However, change in wind direction this week — from easterly winds to north westerly — brought to the city pollutants from Punjab and Haryana where crop residue burning is underway.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said crop burning is the reason behind the dip in Delhi’s air quality.
“Smoke from crop stubble burning in neighbouring states has started reaching Delhi and our air quality has started deteriorating from good to moderate to poor. It has been widely reported that the smoke coming to Delhi today is due to the burning of stubble in Karnal, Haryana.
This is not just a question of Delhi’s air quality. Perhaps the largest health impact of the stubble burning will be faced by the residents of Karnal and other parts of Haryana. Delhi gets most attention because it has more media, it has the Central government,” said Kejriwal.
According to IMD officials, air quality is expected to dip to ‘very poor’ in the coming month, when more fields are set on fire in neighbouring states.
The Chief Minister, however, said farmers were not to blamed.
“Farmers cannot be blamed for burning stubble because they need to prepare for the next crop cycle. It is the responsibility of governments to provide the technology, which is now easily available, to farmers. I appeal to the governments concerned to help farmers. The Centre will have to take the lead on this. Efforts by individuals cannot succeed. I am not interested in pointing fingers at this point in time when people are suffering,” he said.
As compared to last year, Delhi has fared better so far.
“Air quality index is still much better than last few years during this time of the year, partly due to enough widespread moisture with relatively warmer temperature around surrounding areas of Delhi,” a statement issued by SAFAR said.